Parents, some Board members still question Cobb Schools expenditures following briefing by scientist
MARIETTA, Ga - "It's a piece of equipment that is unnecessary and not effective," said Cobb County parent Heather Tolley-Baurer
Cobb County parents can't stop talking about Iggy, a multimillion-dollar aqueous ozone hand rinsing device. Aqueous ozone is a mixture of water and ozone and has been used to sanitize drinking water and food for years.
The company calls their brand new device simply Iggy.
"I don't care what they call it, $14,000 for one hand sanitation machine is ridiculous," said Cobb County parent Eloise Sandifer.
Iggy was one of two technologies Cobb School Superintendent Chris Ragsdale touted as tools to fight COVID-19. The Cobb County School Board voted to spend $12 million to put the devices in elementary schools.
"I think it's important that we not only have solutions that not only approach the solution we're asking for today with Covid but it’s going to move us into the future," said during an earlier product demonstration.
One of those purchases was UVc ceiling lights that supposedly killed the COVID virus at night while kids were at home sleeping.
The I-Team found experts who questioned whether ProTek UVc lights would actually kill the COVID-19 virus throughout the whole room.
"I guarantee one of those down-facing or whole room UV units will not be operating in the corners," said Paul Jensen, an expert on UVc lighting.
The debate ended when Cobb County began removing the UVc lights after they malfunctioned and the county deemed them potentially dangerous. Which leaves Iggy as the last standing monument to the controversial board decision.
So, with parents still asking questions, Superintendent Ragsdale invited one of Iggy's founding members, Dr. Robert Lubitz to address the board about what he called negative misinformation.
"People want to see what we kill," said Dr. Robert Lubitz.
Dr. Lubitz gave a 40 minute, audio-visual-backed presentation, on the science and history of handwashing and Iggy. He presented a list of bacteria, viruses, and fungi he said Iggy could kill. One the list Coronovirus229e
"I circled coronavirus because that's been a big question," said Dr. Lubitz.
But, look closely. Coronavirus 229e is not the COVID-19 virus, according to the CDC, Coronavirus 229e is... the common cold.
Jessica Bergeron was stunned. "Oh, Dale. Really?"
Bergeron, a member of Watching the Funds - Cobb, watched the presentation. She didn’t realize what Coronavirus 229e was.
"It doesn't make sense that the County spent 6 million dollars on something that kills the common cold," said Bergeron.
Reporter: Was it your understanding that Cobb County was spending money on devices that would kill the COVID-19 virus?
Beregeron: Absolutely 100%.
Later, Dr. Lubitz surprised many in the audience when he was asked how well Iggy would perform when kids come in from the playground with dirty hands.
"If their hands are covered in dirt, this is not a good solution. Right? Because it takes time to get dirt off," said Dr. Lubitz who recommended that kids wash off the dirt first.
This means, with Iggy, if a young child has dirty hands, they need to wash them first in the bathroom, before they.....wash them in Iggy.
"I was stunned by that. My reaction is, this is pointless, it is pointless," said Bergeron.
We tried to talk to Dr. Lubitz after the presentation. He left out the back door. His company website quotes two overseas studies, that have not been peer-reviewed, that claim aqueous ozone in general, "kills coronavirus in a matter of seconds."
"We still have a lot of questions and we got some answers, but it begs even more questions," said board member Jaha Howard.
Howard says the presentation left several board members worried that Iggy has never been used in a school setting before and whether the device actually kills the COVID-19 virus. He wonders about a lot of things.
Howard said, "Necessity, effectiveness, why are we even here?"
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