Questions you Should be Asking your School Board about Air Quality on School Campuses


Today, parents find themselves in a unique situation. COVID has changed the world and they are struggling to find ways to protect their children. Recently, schools have been authorized to open their campuses and students will soon be filling the hallways. However, when it comes to the air quality inside these rooms, what is being done? Are they just running their HVACs as normal or are they just planning on opening windows for fresh air?


In response, the CDC recently posted an article about what parents should be asking their schools before permitting children returning to school. Many cover vaccinations and contact tracing. Even though these questions are important, the air quality should be just as important.


Here are some questions you can ask your school (based on the CDC report) to learn more about their precautions when it comes to air quality in schools:

  1. What prevention strategies are you using to keep my children safe while in school when it comes to the air they are breathing in?

  2. How will you keep parents and caregivers updated on any changes in the school’s air quality strategies?

  3. Will you be bringing in experts in air quality or having an air quality audit done before students return to school?

  4. Will you be hosting information sessions for parents, guardians, and eligible students about COVID-19 and what precautions you are taking to provide improved air quality?

  5. Are you using outdoor spaces for learning, extracurricular activities, or mealtime?

  6. What are you doing to keep students safe when they are eating meals because their masks will be off?

  7. Will you be doing contact tracing by the classroom or just for the entire campus?

Why are these questions important?

It seems that more attention has been given to vaccines, contact tracing, and mask wearing than anything else. But they are forgetting one key factor…the air quality inside the classrooms, cafeterias, and main gathering halls.


Each enclosed room has an air flow pattern based on whether the HVAC is running, or the windows are open or if a portable fan or HEPA filter system is being used. The pattern dictates the highest and lowest spread of particulates in the air or in this case contaminants. Since the virus is mostly air transferred, it is important to know how the air is moving.


Also, what is the standard for eating in the cafeteria? Masks will have to be removed to eat and then again the air flow pattern comes into question.


What is your school planning on doing about this? Will they just trust their HVAC will work sufficiently to clean the air? Hope that opening windows will solve the issue? What is the overall strategy to keep “the breathing zone” safe?


The Recommendation

It is recommended that an independent company who specializes in this type of work be called in. Experts who understand air flow and air distribution patterns and how to suggest and implement new equipment or optimizing current equipment.


Doing an on-site review, their goal is to ensure the operations, facilities, and maintenance teams can easily monitor and maintain system improvements, delivering higher indoor air quality and occupant safety. The review would then be forwarded to the school board and recommendations would be given. After that, the parents and guardians will be instructed on what they plan to implement and how they plan to keep the air safe for all.


 

LifeWingsPP specializes in studying school campuses and providing knowledgeable assessments to aid school boards in reaching the highest level of protection for their students and staff. All resulting in peace of mind for parents knowing during this pandemic crisis (and if a new virus happens), their child’s school is ready to handle it while offering a safe place to learn.