6 Things to Consider When Evaluating a UV Disinfection Charging Station

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Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency warned the public that disinfectants and sanitizers falsely claiming to protect against the coronavirus are flooding the market to take advantage of the pandemic. In light of this advisory, and how incredibly challenging it is to disinfect with UV light inside of a cart, it's essential to be cautious and informed when evaluating UV disinfection charging stations.

We urge you to do your homework before purchasing products that say they kill pathogens as well as perform other functions. If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Here are six things to consider before clicking the Buy Now button:

1. Ensure UV-C Light Comes into Contact with ALL Device Surfaces While Inside the Station.

For an object to be disinfected, it must have full exposure to UV-C light rays. But what exactly is UV-C light, and how do UV-C lights work?

We all know about the sun's UV rays and their harmful effects, that's why we slather on the sunscreen when we head outside. But did you know there are actually three different types of UV rays? Most UV rays that you come in contact with from the sun are longer wavelength UV-A rays. In addition to UV-A rays, there are also UV-B and UV-C rays. When it comes to disinfection, not all kinds of UV are effective. UV-C rays have the shortest wavelengths and the most energy. That's why they do such a great job breaking apart germ DNA, leaving it unable to function or reproduce.

Unlike UV-A and UV-B light, UV-C light is germicidal. It can even neutralize "superbugs" that have developed a resistance to antibiotics. UV-C light penetrates the cell and disrupts the DNA, killing the pathogen.

For an entire object to be disinfected, it must have full exposure to UV-C light rays. Therefore when evaluating a touch free UV disinfection station, always ask, "Is the device resting on a solid shelf or on clear glass?" For full exposure, the device MUST be resting on clear glass because touch free UV-C light cannot penetrate a surface unless it's clear. If your object is in contact with a dark surface such as a shelf, rack, or even when the light is being blocked by another device, it will NOT be fully disinfected.

When searching for a UV disinfection station that not only charges devices but also disinfects laptops, Chromebooks, or other devices that fold in half, another vital question to ask is about those bacteria-loving keyboards. Unless you want your keyboards to be home to almost three times more bacteria than a public toilet seat, be sure also to ask, "Is the keyboard fully exposed to the UV-C light?"

2. Read the Research Behind any UV Disinfection Claims

The best way to protect yourself and your investment is to read the research behind a manufacturer's claims. Check out this guide as to what to look for in UV-C testing research data.

  • Laboratories outside of the United States may test based on different standards. Was the research done by a trustworthy, BSL (Biosafety Level) lab?
  • If so, what biosafety level is the lab? There are BSL-1, -2, -3, and -4 level labs. BSL-4 being the most stringent. There are only thirteen BSL-4 laboratories in the U.S. According to the CDC, SARS-COV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, must be tested by a BSL-3 lab. Check out the CDC's article on "Recognizing the Biosafety Levels" to learn more about the characteristics of the four biological safety levels and laboratory practice.
  • Was any research or testing done in the field, meaning outside of a lab? Did users find the device effective and useful?
3. Understand the Significance of Exposure Time and Kill Rate for Disinfection

For UV-C light to be effective, exposure time is critical. For example, waving a UV-C wand over an object will not disinfect it, unless the light directly hits every part of the surface for the prescribed and tested exposure time. 

When evaluating stations, it's very important to assess what percentage of a given germ is killed by the UV disinfection process. This percentage is also known as the kill rate. In the healthcare industry, the strongest kill rate claim you can make is 99.9999%. Keep in mind that decimal points matter. 99% is not the same as 99.999%. For those of you in IT, you know that those extra 9's in uptime can make a big difference! 99% uptime means over three days of downtime per year, whereas 99.999% uptime translates to only 3 minutes of downtime per year.

UVone rapid UV-C technology disinfects devices to a 5-log kill, reducing the colony to 10 MRSA bacterium after a 99.999%* reduction.

*LocknCharge's kill rate claims are based on data conducted by an accredited, GLP compliant, BSL-2 laboratory. Kill rate claims for MRSA at a 5-log kill or 99.999% are based on final GLP testing. Kill rate claims for C. Diff are at a 4-log kill or 99.997% in 60 seconds and a 3-log kill or 99.9% in 30 seconds. C. Diff results are based on final GLP testing. Real world results may vary. Request our full test data.

4. Determine How Much Physical Contact Is Needed to Operate the Sanitizing Unit

There's a reason why hospitals mount touch-free automatic hand sanitizer dispensers around their facilities. Touch-free delivery eliminates cross-contamination to help reduce the spread of germs and encourage use.

Is the disinfection station that you're considering labeled touchless or zero-touch? If bacteria are on the outside of the station, and you have to touch the station to open it, doesn't that defeat the purpose of sanitizing the device in the first place?

With the touch free UVone device disinfection, a user simply waves a hand above the system to open it, places the device inside, then waves a hand again to close it. There's no need to ever physically touch the portable uv sterilizer.

5. Be Cautious of Other Sanitizing Products, Such as Ozone Disinfection

Ozone molecules in the atmosphere are what forms the protective ozone layer in Earth's atmosphere. Remember those UV rays we were talking about earlier? The ozone layer is what blocks UV-C light from reaching the earth's surface. Ozone disinfection uses ozone gas rather than UV light to disinfect surfaces. There are advantages to ozone disinfection because gas can engulf an object, such as the keyboard of a closed Chromebook, more successfully than light. It can also be more effective on porous surfaces like fabric, which is why this method is often used in dry cleaning services.

However, ozone comes with risks—really BIG ones at that.

  • Ozone is very reactive and corrosive. Any material exposed to ozone gas can rapidly deteriorate, which in this case would include mobile devices and charging units.
  • Ozone gas is toxic. Any leaks in the cabinet or charging station can have significant effects on people. According to the EPA, "When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and, throat irritation. It may also worsen chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma as well as compromise the ability of the body to fight respiratory infections."

Here are some tips as to what to look for in portable UV-C light sterilizing products that claim to use ozone disinfection.

  • Find out if the ozone production of the charging station is below the EPA recommended ambient concentration of 0.05ppm. It has been shown that ozone content above 0.3ppm can cause lung issues, so if any leak in the cabinet occurs during ozone generation, this can have significant effects on people in a classroom or factory setting. This is why the EPA and OSHA have made an ambient ozone limit of 0.05ppm.
  • Be sure to check with local regulations as well. For example, the state of California has strict regulations around acceptable levels of ozone emission, which may likely be above levels solutions offer.
6. Consider How Important It Is to Have Device Charging and Disinfection in One Device

It may seem like a dream come true to have an all-in-one disinfection charging cart. But if you step back and look at the larger picture, the benefits of LocknCharge's unique solutions prove that two separate devices can be better for both disinfection and charging.

  • The sleek, compact design means the UVone portable UV sanitizer for mobile devices seamlessly integrates into any environment. Unlike a larger charging station, it can be placed where it is most likely to be used—such as outside a locker room, restroom, or lunchroom. Hygiene compliance is much more likely if it's simple, convenient and visible.
  • While it may seem logical to charge and disinfect devices overnight, imagine if you only washed your hands in the morning when you get up? Just like washing hands, disinfecting once per day may not be enough to stop the spread of viruses. Sanitizing more often can prevent cross-contamination as germs are spread by users touching devices multiple times per day.

LocknCharge offers a complete suite of solutions for mobile device charging, storage and security. Easily pair UVone with a LocknCharge charging station that works best for you to ensure devices are reliably sanitized, charged, and ready for use at all times.

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Seeing the other side of the cup.

A word from James Symons, CEO at IWS Global - PC Locs / LocknCharge:

While I haven’t been silent on the issue that Black Lives Matter, I have recently been challenged to use whatever means I have available to be more vocal. To the person that challenged me… I say a sincere “thank you”!

I want to share, and make known, why I attended the Black Lives Matter rally in Perth, Australia on Monday the 1st June, and why I will continue to advocate for the rights of people on the receiving end of systemic racism, both in the US, and here in my home country of Australia.

Before the recent murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, myself and a group of close friends of mine began reading a book written by African American academic and activist, Dr Drew G. I. Hart, called Trouble I’ve Seen. While I recommend that every white person I know should read this book, I want to share a story that Hart references in his book that beautifully articulates why it is now time for me to deal with the racial biases I have unknowingly carried as a white, middle-aged male living in Australia.

Drew speaks about a meeting he had with a white suburban pastor in his neighbourhood in Philadelphia. The pastor contacted Drew to not only get to know him, but more specifically, so that they could dialogue across the “racial divide”. Here is how Drew describes the conversation once they began discussing the matter at hand as they sat across from each other at McDonalds:

“Drew,” the Pastor said, “This cup has writing on my side of the cup and a logo on yours.” He paused. “But I can’t see what is on your side of the cup,” he continued. “Likewise, you can’t see what is on my side of the cup... Because I can’t see what is on your side of the cup, I need you to share with me your perspective so I can see things from your standpoint, likewise, you need me to share my point of view so that you can understand the world from my vantage point”

As I read this, I thought to myself, “that totally makes sense”. However, as I read on, I was deeply challenged by Drew’s very gracious, yet articulate response to the Pastor (and me as the reader).

Drew states that this is not how things actually work. He explained that he already knew what was on the pastor’s side of the cup. Hart writes:

This is because I have learned Eurocentric history written from a white perspective. I have read white literature and poetry. I have learned about white musicians and artists. I have had mostly white teachers and professors through every stage of my educational process. I have read lots of white authors and have heard white intellectuals give lectures on a variety of topics. I have been inundated by white-dominated and controlled television and media. I have lived in a mostly white suburban community, and I have lived on a predominately white Christian campus. The truth of the matter is that I wouldn’t have been on track to a PhD without becoming intimately familiar with the various ways that white people think. My so-called success means that I have had to know what it takes to meet white standards, whether they are formal or informal.

After explaining why he already knew what was on the pastor’s side of the cup, Drew noted that in contrast to himself, the pastor most likely could go through his entire life without needing to know black literature, black intellectual thought, black wisdom, black art and music, or black history. That is, he could choose to never engage with, or be changed by, the range and beauty of the black community. Nor would he be penalized for it. That option of white exclusivity would not affect his livelihood or means of providing for his family. No one would question his qualifications if he didn’t know how to navigate black communities and cultures or understand the daily realities of most black people in America.

Immersion in, and understanding of, the black community has never been routinely expected or necessary for employees, politicians, scholars, doctors, teachers, or pastors.

So, it is now with a degree of embarrassment and shame that I acknowledge that I have not actively endeavoured to truly understand what is on the “other side of the cup”. When it comes to the oldest living cultures in the world that continue to exist in the place I have grown up, how do I answer the same questions? How much Aboriginal literature have I read? How many Noongar words do I speak? How much do I understand of Aboriginal intellectual thought? How familiar am I with Aboriginal wisdom? How much Aboriginal art and music do I regularly appreciate? How much Aboriginal history do I know? How aware am I of the genocides that happened within an hour from where I live?

This is why I attended the Black Lives Matter rally… to listen, learn and understand... but I can’t stop there. This is why I will seek to learn from those on the receiving end of systemic racism within my company, within my church and within my community. I will listen to their stories, read their literature, learn their culture, understand their pain and concerns, and seek to love them as myself. Then I will join them in seeking to transform systems that say their lives don't matter.

Today I choose to listen and learn. Australian Aboriginal people have faced genocide, discrimination and devastating loss since colonisation more than 230 years ago.

Today, I say over and over that “BLACK LIVES MATTER”. It is now time for us to truly listen and understand what is on the “other side of the cup”.


Image courtesy of Peacock Visuals - Perth Black Lives Matter rally, June 2nd 2020.

All quotes and references from Dr Drew Hart originate from his book, Trouble I've Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism, Herald Press, 2016

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How are Schools Around the World Preparing to Reopen?

Coronavirus lockdown closures have impacted almost 70% of the world's student population, according to UNESCO. That's over 1.3 billion affected learners. Recently, some countries have started reopening schools, while others are in the planning process.

In the United States, education leaders and experts have been developing blueprints with reopening scenarios and advice. One thing is for sure; schools in the U.S. will be different when students return. Just how different is one of the biggest questions on the minds of parents, educators and students.

For schools around the world, proposed safety measures focus on everything from strict hygiene measures (including hand washing stations) to smaller rooms to encourage social distancing in the classroom. While the circumstances in each area are different, check out these five examples of school reopening strategies.

Frequent Hand-Washing

Huntington School, in York, in an effort to increase school hand washing stations, has converted its sports hall into a hand-washing zone. The chief executive of the Aspirations Academies Trust in the south of England, believes pupils could be washing their hands up to eight times a day, in addition to maintaining social distancing in schools, reports Schools Week.[i]

To help engage children in the hand washing process, the NSF Scrub Club offers worksheets, videos and activities to teach kids the proper way to wash their hands.

Social Distancing

In Denmark, in an effort to reopen classrooms, schools have placed desks six feet apart and staggered student arrivals, among other measures, to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Children also line up in the morning next to traffic cones spaced 6 feet apart. In Norway, in an effort to increase social distancing in schools, the government has urged schools to divide classes into groups of no more than 15.[ii]

At the Copenhagen International School, only five children are allowed on the playground at one time. Administrators have made up a new game for the kids to play while staying 6 feet apart. It's called shadow tag, and it involves kids "tagging each other's shadow, so they're not touching."[iii]

Remote Learning Readiness: 5 Takeaways from a Thriving District Tech Department

May 18, 2020

Remote Learning Readiness: 5 Takeaways from a Thriving District Tech Department

Reducing Human Contact

In Chicago's Arbor Park School District, the tech team tweaked their smart locker workflow to enable a no-contact pickup location for replacement devices. Just like an Amazon locker, a FUYL Tower was relocated to a publicly-accessible location within the school. Parents can place tech orders from the district's ecommerce site, and the school fulfills the order by placing it in a FUYL Tower compartment. Parents follow simple email instructions to unlock and pick up their requests from their assigned FUYL Tower locker number the following day.

Temperature Checks

Under California's reopening guidelines, schools would likely implement zero-touch technology screening of staff and students before they enter campus. "A big part of what we'll do is taking temperatures at school and in some cases asking parents to take it before they leave home," states Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond.[iv]

Tips for the Sanitization of Devices in Schools

May 13, 2020

Most of us understand the power of hand washing to…

Sanitization and Disinfection

Most schools are focusing on strict disinfection regimes, including cleaning and disinfection of objects and surfaces that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs and handles, desks and chairs and light switches.

A cell phone has 18x more bacteria than a public restroom. As mobile device usage becomes more widespread in schools, the sanitization of these frequently used teaching tools becomes even more critical. Proper sanitization methods lower germs on a surface, which can reduce the risk of spreading germs.

Managing classroom bacteria can be a challenge for teachers already working harder than ever before. Just as LocknCharge baskets can reduce the time spent by teachers in distributing devices, UVone UV-C disinfection for mobile devices can decrease time spent by teachers sanitizing devices. UVone works in just 30 seconds, making them six times quicker than traditional wipes.

If you're looking for a zero-touch model for device distribution or easy-to-use touchless disinfection, LocknCharge is here to help. Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member today to get a closer look at how our products can support your school reopening plans.

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Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help make your life easier.

Sources:

[i] Long read: How are schools preparing to reopen? – Schools Week

[ii] COVID-19: Countries around the world are reopening their schools – World Economic Forum

[iii] 9 Ways Schools Will Look Different When (And If) They Reopen – NPR

[iv] California students to wear masks, get daily temperature checks – Politico

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Top 3 Benefits of Managing Teachers’ Devices with Smart Lockers

When a student’s device goes missing or breaks, that student can quickly fall behind in classwork. Now imagine the disruption of learning when a teacher can’t get online or experiences a hardware failure. Remote classrooms come to a screeching halt for an entire virtual class. Homework is no longer distributed; assignments go ungraded and live lessons are put on hold until the teacher is back up and running.

Getting working devices in the hands of both students and teachers faster means everyone can get back to learning with minimal disruption, mitigating the negative impact on student achievement. However, in the shift to remote learning, tech teams are already stressed with more work than they’re able to handle. In fact, some school districts are finding they need an entire department just to maintain and support teacher devices.

By automating the clunky manual ipad or chromebook distribution process, LocknCharge FUYL Tower 5 or 15 charging lockers allow organizations to save a considerable amount of time, not to mention reduce staff frustration caused by frequent interruptions. While many schools take advantage of LocknCharge solutions for zero-touch distribution for student’s devices, others are witnessing these three benefits of Towers for managing break/fix and loaner programs for teachers and substitutes.

1. One less thing for administrators and IT staff to worry about.

Administrators and IT support staff already have enough on their plates, supporting teachers on the best methods to teach through technology. Swapping devices shouldn’t add to their already heavy load.

By designating a smart locker (such as the FUYL Tower 15) as a device repair drop point, you’ll no longer be spending the majority of your day exchanging broken devices. Save serious time by easily retrieving broken devices and providing replacements without any physical contact.

2. Improve efficiency of loaner distribution for substitute teachers.

Monitoring teacher absences and locating replacements is challenging enough on its own. Once a substitute is assigned to a class, administers now have the additional responsibility of ensuring that each sub has the proper technology to teach.

In the scenario of classroom learning, most teachers take their individually assigned devices home. This means that when substitute teachers arrive on campus, they have to go somewhere and physically interact with the tech team or front office person to get their assigned device. Or do they? With a FUYL Tower 5 or 15 filled with ready-to-go teacher devices, you’ll reduce in-person interactions, and speed up the check-in/check-out process. Simply email the subs their assigned PINs, along with the locker number and location of the appropriate Tower. They’ll pick up their pre-loaded and configured device and be on their way in no time, thereby reducing disruption of teaching as well as eliminate unexpected interruptions of tech teams. This process also mitigates the potential cross-contamination of laptops between teacher and substitute.

In the case of distance learning, getting a device in the hands of a substitute is even more critical. By rolling a Tower out to a publicly-accessible location on a school campus or district office, substitute’s devices can be left securely in a designated locker, ready for no-contact pick up before the school day begins, and easy return when the assignment is over.

3. Easily manage all of your Towers from one web-based portal.

Whether you have three Towers or thirty, no one wants the hassle of managing each smart locker separately. Once LocknCharge FUYL Towers are connected to LocknCharge Cloud, designated admins can view, access and manage multiple Towers in different locations through one Cloud-Based Management Portal. The Portal also provides real-time data of users accessing the Tower, what devices are checked out, and for how long.

With API and Webhooks, organizations have the option of integrating the Cloud with their helpdesk software, further automating the loaner device process. For example, when a teacher requests a device, the cloud can search for available laptops or tablets on campus and automatically provide the location of the FUYL Tower, with the locker number and a PIN. Once the device is retrieved, the administrator receives an email that the teacher has picked up the device. In this scenario, there are no humans involved. The loaner device location was just generated entirely by LocknCharge’s cloud software when integrated with help desk software. 

In these extraordinary circumstances, our team remains committed to assisting you in managing your devices to help minimize disruption to your staff and students.

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Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help make your life easier.

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Virtual Connections Provide Comfort Between Patients and Loved Ones

Face-to-face interactions and human touch between family and friends are not always possible during this time, especially in a healthcare setting. As teachers reach out remotely and coworkers meet over zoom, frontline healthcare workers are also finding creative ways to connect people through telemedicine. While there is no replacement for physical closeness between patients and their loved ones, virtual connections can help ease discomfort and maintain bonds.

That's why the resident physicians and medical students at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, launched a fundraising initiative to keep families together through this difficult time. After witnessing patients separated from their loved ones and not being able to say their last goodbyes, these healthcare heroes asked for donations of tablets to facilitate video conferences between family and friends and the people they care about in the hospital.

"I wish I could say that interactions on an iPad are just like being in the room. But nothing substitutes that personal connection. Even when you can't touch or hug your loved one. Your presence is irreplaceable," explains Michelle Mourad, MD, Vice-Chair of the Department of Medicine at UCSF, as reported by ABC7 News.  But she says connecting with patients through iPads is the "next best thing."

Over 100 iPads have been donated to #ConnectingThroughCovid so far. When LocknCharge found out about the UCSF Health iPad initiative, we knew that these devices would need a place to charge as well as a secure location to be stored when not in use. With that in mind, LocknCharge was honored to donate two iQ 10 charging stations. These charging stations take up minimal space and include baskets that allow health care providers to share and safely distribute devices between multiple locations.

After the charging stations were received and implemented, a member of the UCSF medical resident team contacted LocknCharge about the success of the project as well as to provide an update in the form of patient stories. We are humbled beyond words to be a part of this compassionate and caring initiative and grateful for the opportunity to share these three patient stories with you.

Siblings Express their Love

One patient, newly diagnosed with Leukemia, barely finds the strength to lift her head from her pillow. Her smile is hued with sadness as she stares at her brother and sister on an iPad screen. Unfortunately, she is not the sickest in her family as her brother is reaching his final days in hospice. They unfeignedly say, "I love you" numerous times with slight trepidation that it might be their last chance to mouth those words.

A Prayer for Jerome

One patient struggles to catch his breath while he speaks to us in his hospital. He was recently admitted after severe weakness causing him not to be able to walk. He also suffers from blindness and heart failure, but what he wants most is to speak to his friend and surrogate decision-maker. We video call his friend on the iPad, and the first thing our patient asks for is prayer. His friend grabs his wife and kids, and they pray for Jerome, tears streaming from his face as he softly stares at the screen.

Reaching out Across the Country to Ease Loneliness

One patient calls his niece, elated, shares that his surgery was a success. He has felt lonely the past couple of days in the hospital and uses the tablets three days in a row to now connect with his family across the United States.

Over 140+ individuals and groups have donated to #ConnectingThroughCovid. If you would like to contribute, visit the UCSF - Connecting Patients and Families GoFundMe. Your donation will help connect these patients to their loved ones and positively affect the lives of countless people.

Virtual Connections between Patients and Loved Ones Provide Comfort

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