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From tanning beds to killing COVID-19

Tigerville, SC (October 1, 2020) How do you safely reopen a college campus for in-person classes in the midst of a global pandemic? How do you limit exposure to COVID-19 for thousands of students, faculty, and staff members? How do you continue to provide a Christ-centered, biblically faithful, academically excellent, and mission-focused educational experience while conquering challenges never-before faced in our 128-year history? Surprisingly, the answer to those questions, at least in part, can be found in technology we more often associate with tanning beds – Ultraviolet (UV) light.

From the start of the pandemic, North Greenville University (NGU), with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC), has carefully planned strategies and protocols to keep the community as healthy and safe as possible. The university continues to search for innovative ways to serve our campus best.  

Reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by cleaning and disinfecting is an essential part of reopening that required careful planning. Cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, including workspaces, residence halls, dining hall, academic areas, and public spaces require developing, implementing, maintaining, and revising a plan.  

The Environmental Protection Agency has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19. NGU Vice President for Campus Enhancement Services Mick Daniel learned of the Germicidal Ultraviolet (GUV) unit that can disinfect 99.9999% of the virus that causes COVID-19 in two seconds. 

“We have six of the GUV units. They are handheld devices and will primarily be used to disinfect academic and other large gathering spaces around campus,” said Daniel.  

Ultraviolet technology is a non-chemical approach to disinfection. In this method of disinfection, nothing is added, which makes this process simple, inexpensive, and requires very little maintenance. UV-C light is germicidal - it deactivates the DNA of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens and destroys their ability to multiply and cause disease. The application of UVGI to disinfection has been an accepted practice since the mid-20th century. It has been used primarily in medical sanitation and sterile work facilities.  

“Instruction and personal protection equipment are provided with each unit. Only those trained to follow safety measures can use the devices,” said Daniel.  

Reopening requires everyone helping to move forward together. NGU is using recommended best practices and maintaining safe daily habits to reduce the risk of exposure of the community to COVID-19. 


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