Published: Wednesday, 21 October 2020 on Written by Connor Gerbrandt

While the term “fogging” may typically be used in reference to repelling mosquitoes or other insects, an entirely different kind of fogging is happening in local schools and officials report that it is entirely harmless to humans.

Peters says this is the fogging machine used in schools on a weekly basis (supplied by HSD). ‘Rochester Midland Enviro Care Neutral Disinfectant-No Fragrance’ is the hefty title given to the chemical now being used daily by the Hanover School Division. Assistant Superintendent Leanne Peters says the odorless product is sprayed throughout each school building once a week during the night.

“The fogging happens in conjunction with our ventilation systems,” she notes. “We are opening our vents at night so that we are moving more fresh air through our schools at the same time we are fogging.”

Once applied to a surface, the product’s dry time is ten minutes during which it kills any harmful bacteria including the COVID-19 virus.

“If there were to be a positive case we would ask the fogging person to come and give that school an additional cleaning,” she offers. “The main thing is that we want our staff and students to be safe in our schools.”

Peters indicates that a small number of parents have called the division office concerned about the unfamiliar chemical and what side effects it could cause. In those situations, she says explaining the fogging process and providing the full Material Safety Data Sheet has usually been enough to calm their nerves.

According to the manufacturer, Rochester Midland Corporation, the chemical is the same sort of compound being used in hospitals, nursing homes, and veterinary clinics across North America. The product is also approved for use in schools by Health Canada. Peters says that too should give worried parents a level of solace. 

On school buses, a similar array of sanitizing products are used on an almost hourly basis. Chief among the bus drivers’ arsenal is a product known as didecyldimethylammonium chloride.

“I’m a bus guy, so that is a really big word for me,” laughs Transportation Director Robert Warkentin after several attempts to pronounce it.

The solvent container has a description plastered across it which indicates that it is not harmful to humans, animals, plants, or marine life, that no protective equipment is necessary for its use, and that there are no known side effects related to its dispersal.

Where schools are fogged once a week, among other more regular sanitizing procedures, Warkentin says his buses are sprayed between every single use.