7 ESSER actions campuses can take to improve air quality |
Relief funds can be used to set up outdoor classrooms and pay for the increased heating and cooling costs
Campus leaders looking to improve ventilation can use American Rescue Plan funds to provide additional layers of air quality protection to prevent the spread of COVID in classrooms.
The Ministry of Education released a guide on Friday to help senior administrators take immediate action to inspect, test, repair, replace, and upgrade their facilities. This is possible. This work may include filtering, purging, air purifying fans, and window and door repair.
Funds can also be used to furnish outdoor classrooms, pay higher heating and cooling costs, and purchase portable air filtration units and carbon dioxide monitors.
“Protecting our schools and communities from the spread of COVID-19 is the first step to returning more students to personal learning and coming out of this crisis stronger than before,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. statement. . “With the American Rescue Plan, schools and districts now have access to unprecedented resources that will enable them to provide proper ventilation and maintain healthy learning and working environments.”
The department encourages leaders to ccommunicate clearly to communities, parents, students and teachers, that measures are taken to improve ventilation. This information should be disseminated in plain language and widely accessible on school websites.
Here are some more strategies to improve ventilation, based on current recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Environmental Protection Agency:
- Bring in as much outside air as possible. Open windows where it is safe to do so, including in classrooms and on school buses and other transportation. Where safe, opening doors can also improve airflow. Fans increase the impact of open windows and doors.
- Keep classes, activities, and meals out when safe and feasible.
- Use HVAC settings to maximize ventilation. Set up systems to bring in as much outside air as possible, including for 2 hours before and after occupancy, and reduce or eliminate air recirculation.
- Provide exhaust fans work properly in toilets and kitchens and use them during occupancy and for 2 hours afterwards to remove particulates from the air. Keep all fans and filters clean to maximize airflow.
- Filtering and cleaning the air. Upgrade HVAC filters to Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV)-13, or the highest MERV rating that a building’s ventilation system can accommodate. Consider using portable air purifiers that use filtration technology, such as high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
- Consider using portable carbon dioxide monitors. These devices can monitor how well the air is circulating in classrooms and other areas. School maintenance professionals can also use airflow hoods, anemometers, and quality tracer techniques to assess airflow.