As schools reopen in the Flathead Valley and parents worry about safety as their kids return to in-person classes, a new hand sanitizer and temperature check station called TemChek is starting to appear in local schools to help mitigate COVID-19 spread and fear among parents, faculty and students.
“As a parent, everyone says, ‘What do you do? Do you send them? Do you not send them?’” Amanda Hart, co-owner of Hartstone Designs and a TemChek representative, said. “So I think this is the safe way to send them and feel a little bit better about it. They’re getting their temperatures checked multiple times a day.”
Students and staff can hover their hands underneath the adjustable TemChek kiosk to simultaneously sanitize their hands while their temperatures are screened. If there’s no fever, the kiosk will read “Lo” but will beep repetitively and read “Hi” if a temperature reads over 99 degrees.
“It’s just an easier, quick way to hit multiple students multiple times a day,” Amanda said.
Amanda and Colten Hart of Hartstone Designs have recently expanded their business, which started as a woodworking company but switched to mask manufacturing once the pandemic hit. Now, they are representatives for TemChek, a company based out of Florida.
While they are eventually working to sell the TemChek kiosks to businesses, right now they are focused on fundraising so they can donate the apparatuses to Flathead Valley schools to help make buildings a little bit safer.
The TemChek’s retail price is $645, but the Harts are offering a $50 discount at $595. They’re accepting donations from businesses and individuals to raise funds to purchase school TemCheks.
“I’m a firm believer in donating during these kind of times,” Amanda said. “I wanted to see if it was possible to get the community to donate these units to schools so they don’t need to spend money on this extra thing.”
The Hart’s goal is to donate at least one TemChek to every school in the Flathead Valley, equating to more than 40 total. A TemChek has already been donated to Rankin Elementary School, with an additional four in Bigfork, Whitefish, Columbia Falls and Kalispell districts.
TemChek evolved from part-time Flathead Valley resident Bob King’s Florida-based business, Ident-A-Kid. He started the company in the 1980s to give kids personalized identification cards for their parents in case of an emergency. Another side of King’s business incorporates a visitor management tool for schools. The iVisitor Management tracks people entering school buildings and provides sex offender background checks, tracks staff and volunteer hours and syncs student attendance to the school’s information system.
Once COVID hit, schools began reaching out to King, requesting proposals for some type of temperature monitoring device, and TemChek was born.
“As a natural part of dealing with visitors, we had requests for proposals,” King said.
The apparatus started out as a portable device for school buses and has since started landing directly in schools.
King hopes to send TemCheks around the country, starting with the 5,000 schools that already use iVisitor Management.
“Those schools know who we are and what our goals are, which is protecting kids in general,” King said.
With ties to the Flathead, King connected with the Harts and helped donate masks to healthcare professionals around the valley. After donating 1,200 masks, Amanda and Colten quit manufacturing them once larger companies swooped in, leading them to switch gears and become full-time TemChek representatives.
The Harts are now bringing that same donation concept to TemChek.
On Sept. 5, the Harts are hosting a drive-through fundraiser called “Give Back, Fill the Pack” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 150 Industrial Court in Kalispell, where donors will receive a free brown sack hot dog and soda lunch.
Donations can be placed in a provided backpack, which the Harts hope to fill. Businesses that donate $500 or more will have their logo on the TemChek unit that they helped fund. Donations can be made online at www.temchek.com or in person at 150 Industrial Court.