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Your Healthy Family: K-9's being used to sniff out COVID in schools

Posted at 10:12 AM, Jan 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-10 12:12:32-05

NORTON, MA — The Bristol County Sheriff's Department is using a new tool to sniff out the coronavirus in some schools.

Staff members are in favor of the new method of detection.

Duke made the rounds of the auditorium at Norton Middle School, sniffing for COVID-19. The Bristol County Sheriff's Office has three canines that can sniff out the virus.

“A metabolic change in our immune system will give off an odor," Officer Teddy Santos said. "That odor the dog is able to detect which is COVID-19."

The Bristol County Sheriff's dogs are sniffing around 15 schools in the area regularly.

BCSO would use a blue tape to mark where Duke detected COVID-19. So while they are not checking students individually, they can find out who's been in this seat and contact that student's parents to see if they want a COVID-19 test.

The superintendent says having the dogs sniff people could scare the kids.

"I think having them go in and be known as a friendly dog and something that can be approached is much more important to the children," Dr. Joseph Baeta, Norton School superintendent said.

Staff we spoke with are behind this. Karen Giatrelis is the school psychologist and she had a hit in her office.

"It makes me a little bit nervous but i know that its going to be cleaned and taken care of so it makes me feel better," she said.

English teacher Joe Spremulli sees this as a step toward normalcy.

"Its really a priority to keep schools open. To keep kids here. We know that that's best for the kids and we know that's best for us, for everyone," Spremulli said. "So any steps we can take to keep us safer are welcome and i think are fantastic."

Three school districts are taking advantage of the dogs and it doesn't cost them a dime.