Logan County school among first in area to install vape sensors

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Riverside Local School District in De Graff is among the first in the greater Miami Valley to install smart sensors to detect for vape.

The district’s middle and high school principal Kelly Kauffman said the 10 sensors cost the district a total of $10,000 and were installed in every locker room and every bathroom in the pre-k through 12 building.

“This is one of many instances where we may be small, but we take our students and their health very seriously,” she said.

The devices, called Halo Smart Sensors, are extremely sensitive and are used to detect changes in air quality like when vape, smoke, THC or other toxic chemicals are present.

If the sensors are set off, Kauffman, as well as a number of other staff members will get a text notification on their phones with details about what was detected and which specific sensor was set off.

“At the end of last school year, I was really searching for an answer as to how can we even begin to combat vaping in our schools,” she said.

After researching the devices online, Kauffman made a formal presentation to Riverside’s Board of Education in September — which was approved.

The sensors were installed over Christmas break.

Kauffman said students and parents were made aware of the new technology, and so far — the reaction has been positive.

She said as of Monday, there were no vaping-related incidents that had been detected.

The implementation of the sensors comes in the wake of a national vaping epidemic.

The CDC says in 2018, more than 3.6 million U.S. middle and high school students admitted to using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days — which breaks down to 20.8% of all high school students and 4.9% of middle school students.

Besides nicotine, which is harmful to kids’ brain development, e-cigarettes also can contain aerosols that can harm the body that includes cancer causing chemicals and tiny particles that can reach deep into the lungs, according to the CDC.

“This is not something we’re going to condone or turn a blind eye to — so that’s why we decided to be proactive,” said Kauffman.

West-Liberty Salem Local Schools also are in discussions about acquiring the technology, but has not committed to installing them.