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"Germ Busters" at Alcoa City Schools spray away COVID-19

The district hired two special education students to spray three school buildings every day with "ghostbuster-like" backpacks.

ALCOA, Tenn. — Forget the Ghostbusters. Two special education students at Alcoa High School are dubbed the "Germ Busters!"

They're on payroll to spray away the virus at Alcoa City Schools, but it's more than just a job.

Isaiah Steele and Josh Justice are the faces behind the name.

"The Germ Busters! They are in charge of keeping us healthy here at Alcoa City Schools," said Mary Beth Warwick, director of special education for the district.

With full disinfectant backpacks, they go from room to room in three different schools, spraying every nook and knob.

"Sometimes (the backpacks) feel heavy, but we can get used to them," Justice nodded.

Both are special education students. Steele is deaf. They were chosen for the job because of their character.

"We're responsible and we work hard," Steele signed.

The idea came from the high school's CDC teacher, Lisa Henry. She trained them for six weeks, walking through every room alongside the pair.

Now, they're independent and have learned to problem-solve.

"Isaiah and Josh are two wonderful kids with big dreams that can do anything they want to do, and they've proved that to us with becoming the Germ Busters," Henry explained.

The staff saw it as an opportunity to not only protect each school from the virus, but to give meaningful work to students with special needs.

"These are two great examples of how they can grow and progress and learn those skills and be independent workers," Warwick said.

Steele and Justice get paid to spray and earn every cent. It's something that makes the new AHS principal Caleb Tipton swell with pride.

"There are things every school year that kinda reveal the heart of a place and I think this is one of those stories," Tipton explained. "You want every kid that comes in your building to feel like they have a place in your building and in your school community.”

To the Germ Busters, they're happy knowing their work helps stop the spread.

"We don't want anybody to get COVID-19," Justice said. "I know there's been a lot of cases of COVID-19, but we hope all y'all get better and we're praying."

Alcoa City Schools said they hope other school systems will adopt a similar model for disinfecting buildings because it's a win-win.

RELATED: New children's book by Alcoa educators teaches kids about COVID-19

The name "Germ Busters" came from the Intermediate School's counselor, Kip Jones. He made a video to commemorate their "Ghostbuster-like" appearance. He's also the author of "Let Your Eyes Smile, Corona Style!"