Earlier this month, the Rochester School Board approved a study that is currently being conducted inside some Rochester classrooms. The Mayo Clinic and Thermo Scientific are testing a new piece of equipment, that can detect if COVID-19 is in the air, with the goal of making sure each student and facility member is safe inside the school's facilities.

The equipment is known as the “Thermo Scientific AerosolSense Sampler” and is a “pathogen surveillance” device that collects air samples and monitors for the presence of bacteria and viruses.

I’m interested to see how and where this device will be used in the future. Will it be installed in businesses? At airports? At concerts and sporting events? This seems like a great way to notify people that they may have been exposed to something and might need to get tested. According to one listener that is exactly what's happening at Rochester Schools.

I spoke with a listener this morning that wants to remain anonymous. She told me this device is installed in her son’s third-grade classroom and it did detect COVID in the air earlier this week.

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She shared the email she received from Rochester Superintendent Munoz which said, “This evening, May 19, we were notified through Mayo Clinic Laboratories of a positive surveillance result within your child’s classroom. You are receiving this communication because your child was present within this classroom. We ask that each student or staff member who was in this room consider obtaining an individual SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) PCR test”

The email notification explained that students weren’t required to stay at home, “Unlike a positive lab-confirmed COVID-19 case, your child is not required to quarantine. However, you may choose to keep your child home if you wish. Students who are kept home by choice of a parent/guardian will receive the same support given to any student needing to quarantine.”

The devices are currently installed in 5 Rochester school classrooms and will continue to monitor the air through the end of the school year.

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