Improving Indoor Air Quality in Schools During the Pandemic
September 14, 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic is changing how school districts think about indoor air quality, and the Center for Green Schools is curious to see how facilities are reacting. With technical support from ASHRAE, a global society dedicated to a more sustainable future, the center has conducted a survey to gauge school district’s response to the virus.
A Brief Overview of the Report
Titled, Preparation in the Pandemic: How Schools Implemented Air Quality Measures to Protect Occupants from COVID-19, the report supplies compelling data supporting schools’ investment in indoor air quality control measures.
Most learning facilities rely on their HVAC systems to filter particles from the air. Unfortunately, many of these systems are infective or outdated and not able to meet the recommended indoor air quality standards for schools.
How School Districts are Responding
The recent report is the only one conducted during the pandemic that takes a look at indoor air quality in schools, and the district’s response. It highlights the actions districts have taken to improve indoor air quality in schools, which aspects are being prioritized and the results.
The study covers 47 school districts in 24 states with over 2.5 million registered students. Four of the schools have requested their information be redacted, and one is an independent charter school. The remaining schools surveyed are public facilities.
Not all schools districts can make changes to improve their indoor air quality. The districts that can are focusing on their mechanical systems. It includes updating to HEPA filters and installing new and more efficient HVAC systems to better protect the health of staff and students.
Of the districts surveyed, 87% are using their existing HVAC systems to bring outdoor air inside. Indoor air flushing is another popular method currently being used by 77% of the districts studied. 70% of schools are updating their air filters. Surprisingly, opening windows and using fans to bring in outside air was not a method school districts are considering implementing.
If your school has indoor air quality concerns, Action Services Group is here to help. Our Halo air filtration system permanently filters and traps 99.9995% of all viruses, bacteria, particles, and allergens. To talk to an air filtration specialist, you can schedule a call that fits your needs by clicking the button below.
Challenges to Improving Air Quality in Schools
School districts face challenges when they are trying to meet indoor air quality standards. Districts in wealthy neighborhoods with decisive leadership faced fewer challenges, along with facilities that had implemented upgrades before the pandemic.
One of the biggest challenges schools districts cited is facilities not designed to support upgrades to the current ventilation system. This was one of the primary problems school districts face. The high cost of HEPA filters is another concern.
The Future of Indoor Air Quality in Schools
Schools are reopening and officials are carefully monitoring indoor air quality standards. Before the pandemic, only two-thirds of the districts participating in the survey regularly monitor indoor air quality.
The reasons other districts were not paying attention to air quality are a lack of staff and funding, along with the time it takes to collect and monitor the data. The pandemic is changing these districts’ minds. Now, 70% of schools participating in the study indicate they will continue to monitor indoor air quality.
Read the Center for Green School’s report to learn more on how districts are working to improve indoor air quality in schools, and additional strategies they need to take to keep students and staff safe.
Contact Action Services Group today to learn more about the Halo air purification system and how indoor air quality can help keep students and occupants safe. Call 610-558-9773 or email [email protected]
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Director of Human Resources – Transitional Care and Rehabilitation Center