Wielding a hose-like a weapon, Chuck Clark has been spraying Port Byron’s classrooms for a week to help the district fight the flu.

“We’re always looking for something to do differently because when we got the stomach bug in the fall, everyone was like, ‘What can you do?’ and we were like, ‘We’re cleaning the classrooms,'” superintendent Neil O’Brien recalls. 

He says parents pressed for efforts to prevent outbreaks.

With a little research, the superintendent’s team found a device used in some sports locker rooms.

The district paid about $5,900 to buy their own.

“I just go from classroom to classroom and spray a mist. I spend two minutes in each room,” Clark explained.

Parents are likely to wonder exactly what is being sprayed, how much, and when.

According to the seller, Clark’s machine is spreading two chemicals by Clorox, the “Total 360 Disinfectant Cleaner” and the “Anywhere Hard Surface Sanitizing Spray” for the cafeteria.

“Even though it says Clorox on it, there’s no bleach base in it,” says Bob Kiernan with Johnston Cleaning Solutions.

Unlike the spray bottles most people have at home that are aimed directly at a target, Kiernan calls his product an electrostatic sprayer. A mist shoots from a hose, clinging to the tops, sides, and bottoms of desks and tables.

“I got a shot this year and so did my wife and she ended up with the flu,” Clark says. He understands the misery.

The current plan is to have him work five days a week, about four hours a day after classes end. 

“Hopefully sickness is going to go down,” he adds.

In the first week, he used about $300 worth of spray. 

O’Brien says the district will find room in the budget until widespread cases of the flu decline.

“A kindergarten teacher I talked to the other day, she was out all last week with the flu,” O’Brien says. “When you have attendance issues, you have academic issues.”