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Paso Robles school district purchases equipment to protect against COVID-19

Posted at 5:34 PM, Nov 12, 2020

The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District is moving forward with purchasing some new equipment to protect students, teachers, and staff against COVID-19.

This means a lot of new upgrades are coming to schools within the district now that school is back in session for some. The upgrades are being paid for with CARES Act funds.

Nine Synexis Sphere devices, with a price tag of nearly $24,000, will soon be purchased to help disinfect and clean high-risk areas like nurses' offices.

"It essentially can be plugged into one of the classrooms or one of the spaces and be left there," said Brad Pawlowski, Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Assistant Superintendent. "It could be moved if need be to another location."

More than 100 tables for outdoor learning will be purchased for nearly $90,000. They'll go to all nine schools in the district.

"So that staff have an opportunity to conduct a class or an experiment or something of that matter outside," Pawlowski said.

Another priority is increasing indoor air quality and filtration amid the pandemic.

Virginia Peterson and Pat Butler Elementary Schools both recently underwent upgrades to their HVAC systems for a cost of more than $2.7 million. This also included new roofing at both sites, all paid for through Measure M funds.

Meantime, the district office will soon be able to remotely control and adjust settings to these systems for a cost of more than $57,000 in CARES Act funds.

Future sites for these improvements are still being nailed down by the school board.

"I think anything they can do to try and protect our children and our families is really wonderful," said Acina Hansen, parent.

Overall, the district received roughly $5.6 million in CARES Act funds.

Some of the money has already gone to improving technology districtwide, including increasing bandwidth, new Chromebooks, iPads, and hot spots.

Other money is being allocated to personal protective equipment.

The school district says there were four main allocations and deadlines as to when the money needs to be spent.

With CARES Act funds, the school district will also renew an audiobook contract and purchase an educational program. Both total around $135,000.