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In August 2020, with COVID-19 outbreaks proliferating and back to school plans shifting, U.S. tech vendors popped up, promising a solution. They were selling thermal imaging cameras and scanners that they said could screen large groups of students for virus-related fevers in real time. The catch: they didn’t work.

The Daily Beast has found over 200 school districts nationwide that were persuaded to buy these devices between 2020-21 by a number of companies, spending a combined total of more than $11 million. Internal emails obtained through public record requests show how districts were sold technology by an industry which experts compare to the “wild west,” and how now in many instances, the scanners sit dormant in schools, gathering dust.

In the first two years of the pandemic, Congress passed three COVID relief packages totaling $190 billion in aid for education systems. But schools were given little guidance on how to effectively use the money to keep their students safe. Instead they frantically bought up whatever technology they were told could keep their doors open.

“Districts were really in the dark about what to do,” said Marguerite Roza, director of Edunomics Lab, a research center at Georgetown University. “They were just on the phone, trying to buy buy buy.”

Companies came out of the woodwork, ready to make a pandemic profit. X.Labs, run by a former fugitive and fraudster wanted in South Africa, and SafeCheck USA, started by two Miami real estate brothers who describe themselves as “power agents,” convinced schools to spend millions of federal funds on devices.

They were far from the only vendors drumming up business. The Gananda Central School District in upstate New York was one of many that bought the COVID sales pitch. Superintendent Shawn Van Scoy told The Daily Beast that in a moment of crisis, the district was desperate to solve a problem. In August 2020, the state had introduced mandatory daily temperature testing to catch fevers associated with the virus. But the district had just three nurses for nearly 1,000 students to perform the job.

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Mrs Hinch decorates her bedroom at Hinch Farm and raves about a bargain Dunelm buy

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MRS Hinch has revealed that she's found the perfect pair of linen curtains to decorate her bedroom - and they cost just £30 from Dunelm.

The 32-year-old cleanfluencer took to Instagram, where she has a 4.5 million-strong following, and shared a snap of the 'Churchgate Linen Stripe Hidden Tab Top Voile' which cost from £30-£45 - depending on the width and length.

3Mrs Hinch shared the 'perfect' curtains she's found to decorate her bedroom at Hinch FarmCredit: Mrs Hinch/Instagram 3The linen curtains are from Dunelm and cost just £30Credit: instagram/mrshinchhome

In a second image showing them fitted against her windows, she penned: "I think I've found the perfect linen voiles for our bedroom!
Yay or nay?"

The product description online reads: "Featuring a woven stripe design, the Churchgate linen stripe voile has a beautiful natural colourway."

"Crafted from a linen and cotton blend, the voile has been finished with a hidden tab top header. 4 sizes are available so find the best size that suits your window."

READ MORE ON MRS HINCHMOVING MESSAGE Mum-of-2 Mrs Hinch shows off stretchmarks, encouraging fans to ‘be yourself’

Mrs Hinch is currently living in a stunning five-bedroom Essex farmhouse that she has loved since she was 11 years old.

And she's recently revealed that she's handed over her former home £600,000 rent-free to another family.

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In response to questions about the luxury pad on social media, she revealed: “We haven’t sold the house.

"We are not renting out the house we are just handing our keys over to an incredible family to start a new chapter in their lives so they too can build a life they have also dreamed of.

“To even be in a position to do this is something I’ll never truly believe and never stop being thankful for.

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“But personally for me, to see another family have some relief and happiness in their life that they deserved because they have been through so much is one of the most incredible feelings in the world.”

Mrs Hinch  - worth around £5m – and hubby Jamie moved from the detached home in Maldon, Essex, this year after falling out with neighbours when they extended the pad.

3The linen curtains fitted in Mrs Hinch's bedroom at Hinch FarmCredit: instagram/mrshinchhome

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