LEROY, Ill. (WCIA) — As school districts across central Illinois try to keep COVDI-19 cases out of the classroom, some are using high-tech machines to get the job done.

An educator’s main job is to expand young minds, but it is also up to them to keep kids safe within school walls, even when it comes to COVID-19.

“We are committed to being in-person,” said LeRoy Elementary Principal Erin Conn. “And what can we do to make sure our public and our parents feel the best about sending their kids to school?”

The answer for the LeRoy School District? The R-Zero Arc Machine.

“I thought, ‘What is it doing here? How does it work,'” said student Avery Anderson.

Students at the elementary school learned quickly that the robotic-looking thing had an important job. “At night, our night custodians go in, and we thoroughly clean the room,” said Lead Custodian Mark Fritcher. “All touchable surfaces…We will bring the machine in after the room has been completely cleaned, plug it in, turn it on, leave the room, the room is completely sterile until the next morning.”

The school district has been using the R-Zero Arc in all buildings since they returned to in-person learning in the fall.

The machine can clean the average-sized classroom in just about seven minutes, but you do have to stay outside of the room while it does its job.

“Not only does it cover COVID, SARS, but flu, everything,” said Fritcher. “It’s a hospital-grade piece of equipment.”

It is a touchless UV-C machine that kills any surface or airborne bacteria without damaging electronics or other sensitive classroom equipment.

“It sucks all the germs in it, and then it kills the germs,” said student Reid Hendren.

“We have had zero transmissions from student-to-student or adult-to-adult in our district. So, the protocols are working,” said Conn.

“Yeah, so we don’t have so much germs,” said Anderson. “Nobody else gets anymore sick.

The LeRoy Schools superintendent said they have two of these machines. They were budgeted into the Risk Management Plant.

A 12-month lease for the machines cost the District about $25,000. They are hoping to offset that cost with COVID relief money through the CARES Act.