BOSTON (CBS) – COVID sniffing police K-9s will be in some Massachusetts schools this week. The one-year-old labs with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office have been trained to detect COVID-19.
On Wednesday, Huntah and Duke will go to work in Freetown, Lakeville and Norton school districts.
“With COVID, whether it’s the Omicron, whether it’s the Delta, our dogs will hit on it,” said Bristol County Capt. Paul Douglas. “And if there’s a new variant that comes out in six months, hopefully there isn’t, but if there is one, COVID is COVID.”
If one of the dogs smells COVID on a desk, keyboard or trash barrel, they will sit down, alerting staff that the area has been exposed to the virus and needs to be cleaned.
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“One good thing about COVID is it’s easy to destroy,” Douglas said. “It doesn’t like chemicals. Spray it down, wipe it and it eliminates the virus.”
Fairhaven School Superintendent Tara Kohler is thrilled to have the dogs.
“I see it as a great opportunity for kids to recognize that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the risk and I want them to feel secure and safe and not anxious about their surroundings,” Kohler said.
“We’ll go right into the classroom if the students are in there, and our dogs actually work right through it,” Douglas said. “They just walk right through, they go over the backpacks, around the teachers.”
The detection program was developed by Florida International University’s International Forensic Research Institute. Scientists there say the dogs are 99% accurate in detecting COVID.