Wimberley ISD is the first district in Texas to introduce Safe Breathing Zone Units for cleaner air

by Sahar Chmais 

WIMBERLEY INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT — Wimberley ISD is taking their health safety precautions to another level by installing a new air filtration system in its four school buildings. 

“The health and safety of our students and staff is paramount as we provide the high-quality education that Wimberley ISD is known for,” said WISD Superintendent Dwain York. “The installation of these units, which we believe is the first of its kind for a district in Texas, shows that commitment and helps us provide a safe environment.”  

The district’s Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to install the air filtration system, known as Safe Breathing Zone Units (SBZU’s), manufactured and produced by Joe Fly Co. Inc.  The system will cost about $425,000. This amount is considered a cost-saving price because school personnel will install the units. It would have been four times the cost if the contractor was in charge of installation. 

While the system does not state that it kills the COVID-19 virus, it does purify the air. 

After the air is drawn into the SBZU, the bipolar ionization unit deactivated harmful pathogens, releasing cleansing ions into the air. Then the air passes into ultraviolet light inside the unit and then into a gel-seal for final filtration. The process catches a minimum of 99.97% of particles. The air quality is comparable to what is found in surgical operating rooms. 

“Hopefully one day we’re away from COVID, but this will continue to be a good investment long-term,” said Will Conley, a board trustee.

The needle-point ionization units have been installed at Jacob’s Well Elementary school and Blue Hole Primary; they will be done district-wide by the end of the week. Installation of the SBZU will begin the week after Thanksgiving break, starting Nov. 30


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Sahar Chmais holds a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been covering cities in Hays County for one year, touching on residents' struggles and successes, city issues, COVID-19 and more. Prior to reporting on the local spectrum, Sahar reported for a national news organization, covering gun violence. Sahar enjoys working as a local reporter because she gets to work with real people and their stories.

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