By far, a thermal camera is poised to be your school’s most indispensable tool against the COVID-19 spread this winter. Placed strategically in your educational institution, the infrared device can be a telltale sign of how serious your campaign is to not let the virus gain a foothold in your area of responsibility. And keep children of all ages safe and warm.
Already as schools reopen all over America, a host of children fell prey to tenacious clutches of the virus — specifically the dreaded delta variant. Children such as Francisco Rosales who’s just started fourth grade had to grapple with the sad reality of being hospitalized due to the virus this August. It’s horrifying. After seemingly endless months of virtual classes, their joy to physically be at school is met by the specter of the existential threat they hid from.
Worse, the scenario could be bleaker this winter experts warn. Already, respiratory syncytial virus (R.S.V.) - another contagious flu-like viral illness distinct from COVID-19 - is making its presence felt in many hospitals all over America. Experts agree things could get worse before it gets better as the North American nation faces sweater weather. Like before.
Indeed, it’s high time you take a closer look at the merits of infrared technology. If your educational institution has been sitting on the fence on its prospects, making sure you don’t dillydally in getting to know the benefits of a thermal camera in protecting your premises is wise. After all, the life you save could be that of the children you’ve sworn to serve — not to mention your own.
Ripple Effect: School and The Curse of Winter
Let’s face it. It may take but one COVID-19 infected child to shut down a school. Think about it. A quick look at how much mess the delta variant brought to the August opening of classes should be telling.
Recent reports from USA Today detail:
- In Hillsborough County Public Schools: Over 10,000 staff/students has been quarantined
- In Nashville, Tennessee: over 1,000 staff/students in isolation
- Ware Country, Georgia had to close its public schools: over 800 faculty/students quarantined
- Texas counties schools had to shut down due to a shortage of faculty/staff members
Early in the year, America was confident it was seeing the beginning of the end of the virus menace. As President Biden prioritized massive vaccinations, it seems the country was winning the war against the pandemic.
True enough, as the 4th of July celebrations reverberated across the country it signaled in a way the promise of newfound freedom. But the delta variant had other plans. The problem is children bore the brunt this time around.
Buoyed by the nation’s push for in-school learning, infections in children rose like never before in September this year. American Academy of Pediatrics detail weekly rate of infection surged by as much as 240% compared to the weekly rate the month before. In table form:
While the number of children who died due to COVID-19 complications is relatively low compared to the general population, that figure is increasing at a rapid rate as the year comes to a close.
And there are a host of complications that have surfaced too. One of which is MIS-C (multisystem inflammatory syndrome), a rare complication where various body parts get inflamed (e.g., heart, brain, kidney, eyes, skin). Upon the instigation of the virus, the body produces an immune response that puts your very own blood vessels in jeopardy.
● Of the over 4,661 MIS-C cases reported, 41 have died.
● 99% of MIS-C cases tested positive with COVID-19 virus
● The median age for MIS-C patients: 9 years old
The problem is MIS-C manifests itself after the body has been reported free of the virus. So a month or so after children showed up with a positive PCR test and recovered from the virus, they suddenly show evidence of liver, lung, heart, or kidney damage.
But all these sorrows may multiply during the winter months. In hindsight, that is exactly what happened last year in 2020.
The grim picture above gets even grimmer. By January of 2021, cases topped to as many as 300,000 on a daily basis, taking out as many as 95,000 Americans off the face of the Earth.
Over the years, one thing has remained constant: Winter is when Americans are most susceptible to disease more than any other season. Experts agree flu season is at its peak in North America and in Europe during the winter months. Lack of sunlight and the cold weather not only lets viruses thrive but also the immune system of humans dips.
Put in the equation people staying indoors more during the winter months and you’re facing a perfect storm. In short, you have a more fertile breeding ground for pathogens to flourish in the cold season.
While vaccines may be able to do their part and slow the spread of the virus, take note that the virus itself is evolving. As the delta variant wanes, other dangerous versions could take their place. Clinical studies show more powerful variants could diminish the overall effectiveness of the virus, experts warn.
Worse, children are at a greater risk as they are largely unvaccinated. Making sure they get the protection they need is paramount.
Thermal Camera to the Rescue: Early Detection is Key
It’s no surprise a school can be a hotspot for the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If you take a closer look, person-to-person transmission poses the greatest risk of spreading the virus. Exactly why parties and social functions are discouraged by CDC for a long time there.
Recently, one superspreader party has in fact caught nationwide attention: one in Long Island in February. With multiple students testing positive, the school had to shut down in-person learning.
In the words of the World Health Organization, there are three C’s that allows COVID-19 to spread easily. These are:
- C - Crowded places
- C - Close-contact settings
- C - Confined/enclosed spaces with inadequate ventilation
If you take a closer look, school fits perfectly into these three descriptions. First up, kids are bound to congregate when in school. A dozen kids left to their own devices in a room is a formula for chaos. Sooner rather than later, these young schoolers are going to let their seemingly boundless energy out.
With their greater propensity to have fun, children are bound to be talking and playing with one another at the slightest opportunity. Plus, grouping them in a room can make them easily vulnerable to infection in case one of their colleagues get the virus.
Put in the picture a more sinister version of the COVID-19 virus, and you see why thousands of school children got infected when classes opened in August. In the background, all sorts of arguments and clashes materialized as parents and teachers became embroiled in a tug of war on how to handle the situation best. An incident in California where a teacher was physically attacked by a father in August over a mask argument is a glorious example.
Still, one thing is certain: Prevention is key to curtail a monstrous problem such as COVID-19. As sneaky as the virus is, that means keeping track of symptoms before things go out of hand. And the top symptoms of COVID-19 are:
- Loss of taste/smell
CDC guidelines point out, however, that fever is the #1 most common symptom to indicate infection. A 2020 study in PLOS One that contained data from over 25,000 adult patients showed fever was present in 78% of those infected.
While there are many ways to be able to monitor temperature and zero in on fever, most need direct contact. One fever-screening technology stands out. And that is via infrared technology, specifically via a thermal camera.
How Infrared Imaging Gets the Job Done
It’s no surprise, a thermal camera has risen to the front in these challenging times. The technology itself has evolved through the years. When before America’s firefighters had to carry a huge burden on their backs with the use of super-heavy thermal equipment. Not only were these early thermal camera models large and heavy but also they came with a huge, outrageous price tag that was simply too steep for many American fire stations at that time.
Today, thermal camera technology has largely improved. For one, infrared cameras became more portable and yet more powerful than before. Below are ways your school can stay more protected with one:
1. Operating from a Safe Distance
Early on, CDC guidelines mandate people observe at least 6 feet apart from each other to avoid direct contamination. That’s about being 2 arm’s length apart from other people. This is especially true if you’re prone to getting sick. People with comorbidities are the ones hit hardest most by the virus.
Even at home, CDC advises you to avoid close contact with sick people. And that means staying as far away as possible from household members who are with fever or other symptoms common to COVID-19 infection. At the very least, you should observe at the prescribed distance.
This is where a thermal camera works best for your school. Unlike the common thermometer, you don’t need to stick a probe into a patient to know his body temperature. Infrared technology can detect uncommon heat signatures at a safe distance. So, you need not put yourself in harm’s way just to get the body temperature of a student.
One product worth mentioning here is PerfectPrime’s IR0280H thermal camera. Portable yet state-of-the-art, this thermal camera can detect fever even from a distance of 2 meters. That’s far longer than CDC-mandated safe distance making your educational institution a lot safer than most.
2. Efficient Temperature Tracking
With so much at stake for your school, you simply can’t leave things to chance. While mask-wearing and safe distancing are key to ward off infections, knowing which person is feverish can mean stopping the virus from contaminating a whole class or for that matter the whole school.
That means the need to spot the presence of fever is more pronounced now more than ever. It’s paramount.
The recent story of how one unvaccinated teacher infects half of their student in a California class is certainly disturbing. Take note that only a small percentage of teens have been inoculated against the virus:
● CDC data: 32% of American teens (12 to 17) fully vaccinated
It’s important then that your thermal imaging camera must be able to detect at the slightest trace of fever. Not being able to do so can mean drastic results not only for your students but for everyone — you including.
This is where the level of accuracy of a thermal matter. It ensures your establishment can be alerted at a moment’s notice when temperature spikes in people coming in and out of your facility.
Again, this is where the IR0280H thermal camera can do wonders. Truth be told, you may be surprised to know it’s a world-first. That’s because this thermal camera has a 0.3°C (0.6°F) level of accuracy, a cut above the rest.
Simply put, the IR0280H can detect subtle temperature skin changes more than any run-of-the-mill infrared technology can. That translates to greater protection for everyone in your school.
3. Designed to Serve Your School
The need to keep the virus away from your educational establishment can put a huge burden on your back. For one, it can add to the long list of responsibilities of an educator. As many teachers and school administrators know, the paperwork alone can take a big chunk of your time. Having to focus on keeping your students safe can certainly take a toll on you.
Bear in mind however that not putting a priority on keeping the virus away is not an option. As you will find, you’ll realize that providing a safe place to learn is a far greater responsibility than teaching your students the rudiments of any subject.
Thus, above and beyond, it’s the responsibility of the school to ensure policies and regulations are in place to keep the virus away. And finding the right thermal camera should complete that picture best.
And you’ll find that PerfectPrime’s products fit the bill to a T. For one, you can configure the IR0280H product to alert your staff should an errant temperature presents itself. And since this can be done automatically, that means you won’t have to spend as much manpower to guard your entrances.
With easy controls, setting up the IR0280H is basically like setting up your PlayStation. It’s plug-and-play. So you don’t need an expert to be able to field the thermal camera in your school. That means a lot more savings for you.
Plus, the IR0280H is equipped with a tripod mount hole. That allows you to use the infrared camera as a portable or mount it up so easy screening of the crowd. Surely, that means a lot more bang for your buck.
Speaking of which, take note that the IR0280H utilizes advanced German chip technology for greater temperature screening efficiency.
Certainly, we should do better this year’s winter than last year. A quick look at how COVID-19 cases spiked in children in the time leading to winter last year is telling.
Number of COVID-19 Cases in the U.S. Children (2020)
But don’t let all the bells and whistles scare you. PerfectPrime’s IR0280H thermal camera comes at a very affordable price — far cheaper than most. That tells you when it comes to protecting your students from harm this winter, having the right fever detection thermal camera matters most.