As the pandemic hit the world, we looked at how we could help our parents and educators re-use Piper Computer Kits over and over!  We were concerned about the spread of the virus on the Piper Computer Kit, so our CEO did some research and came up with a solution.

1. Time, Heat 

Time (helped by heat, if available) will effectively ensure there is not live COVID-19 virus on all surfaces of all parts in the Piper Computer Kit. Given the complex shapes and high number of parts, and the fact that students handle each part during assembly and disassembly, disinfectant wipes or other physical contact chemical means are not effective disinfecting techniques. The likelihood of missing surfaces is high. Such products may be used, and will not damage the parts of the Piper Computer Kit – but alone, they are not enough. This is true for hand washing and hand sanitizer use – good ideas, both, and the more preventive measures used, the better.

A guideline from the New England Journal of Medicine as to how long the COVID-19 virus can survive on various surfaces is shown below:

Time and heat can ultimately ensure the absence of COVID-19 from all surfaces of the Kit and its parts, even those inside an assembled Kit. They’re the best means to ensure the Kit is safe in a classroom. A flowchart of the process to see that Kits are not used during the period a virus could survive on a Kit surface is below, detailed steps are:


Steps to ensure adequate time has passed for absence of COVID-19 on Piper Computer Kits:

a. Gloves on: Nitrile or latex gloves should be used when handling a Kit recently used by students. Put gloves on before handling the Kit.

b. Kit Preparation for Disinfecting: Using the gloves put on in step. a., after a Piper Computer Kit has been used, return it and all relevant parts including the Blueprint to the original box. The box fits an assembled Kit or a disassembled. Once the Kit is in the original box, put a plastic wastebasket liner or Hefty-style trashbag around it. Tie the top of the bag shut, using a twist tie or an overhand knot.

c. Gloves off: Remove and discard the gloves. Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 30 seconds.

d. Latency Period for Disinfecting: This part is simple – leave the kit alone for 5 days. Estimates for the ability of coronavirus to survive on a surface are “several days” . While data on this topic is still emerging, the glass, brass, plastic and sealed wood surfaces of the Kit are not places coronavirus can survive for long. At 70⸰ F, keeping the Kit in the bag for 5 days will greatly reduce the chances the Kit is contaminated with coronavirus. The bag will also prevent humidity from reaching the Kit, as dryness is further damaging to the virus.

e. Heat: The Piper Computer Kit can be safely stored at temperatures up to 120⸰

f. As with all viruses, heat speeds the destruction of COVID-19. If elevated temperatures are available (ie, a sunny window) they’ll provide added insurance. Do not put the Kit anywhere you wouldn’t ask a student to use it – for example, do not place Kits in a sauna.

2. UVC light and Hand Sanitizer

UVC light cabinets are often used for disinfecting safety goggles in shops and science labs.  While UVC light cabinets extremely effective in destroying COVID-19 (under an hour of exposure required), cabinets that fit a Piper Computer Kit can exceed $1,000. Unlike time and heat, exposure in a UVC light cabinet will only disinfect the exterior surfaces of an assembled Kit, and leave potential virus contamination on inside surfaces. For these reasons, it is not effective as a standalone measure. If UVC lights or cabinets are available, they may be employed as a secondary, redundant measure – they will not harm the Piper Computer Kit. Hand sanitizer is also an effective redundant means, and can be used by all students after a session with a Piper Computer Kit. 

3. Further reading:


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