By Tori Mason

DENVER (CBS4) – In an effort to increase safety during the COVID-19 pandemic, Denver Public Schools is outfitting all of its buses with disinfecting lights. In conjunction with cleaning, DPS says the addition of VioSafe lights will help maintain a safer environment for students and faculty.

(credit: CBS)

“On the school bus, we can’t control the cohorts because we have students from multiple classes. This is an opportunity for us to keep the bus disinfected before those kids get to school,” said Albert Samora, executive director of DPS Transportation Services.

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DPS will continue cleaning buses throughout the day, but the VioSafe lights continuously disinfect surfaces for hours. Similar technology has been used for years to sanitize hospitals and emergency vehicles, like ambulances.

The lights shine across a 12-foot radius, killing germs in its path. The lights help to dramatically reduce contamination while providing white light illumination that’s safe for humans and animals.

(credit: CBS)

“It uses light on the visible spectrum, 400-405 nanometers. Being on the visible spectrum is what makes it safe for continuous exposure,” said Kevin Elliot with McCandless Truck Center. “The longer a surface is exposed, the more germs it’s able to kill. If you have a dirty environment, it would take 8-12 hours to get a clean environment.”

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DPS says the technology looks like typical overhead lights. The lights also come with two settings, high and low, to prevent glare for bus drivers.

DPS estimates installation to cost between $1,200 and $1,600 per bus, depending on length. The district was able to get funding for them with a CARES Act grant. VioSafe lights are also effective against a number of bacteria and microbes.

(credit: CBS)

DPS is hopeful they’ll keep students and drivers healthier during flu season, too.

“We want to make sure our drivers and employees feel safe getting on our buses. If we can’t get our drivers to come in, we can’t get out students transported,” said Samora. “We had a small, outdoor meeting about a week ago, and I have heard a lot of positive feedback about these lights.”

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District officials say 10 buses already have the VioSafe lights and DPS expects they’ll be installed in its entire fleet by the end of January.

Tori Mason