Let’s Take A Deep Breath and Dive In!
What matters most when it comes to our children’s education? Quality schools, quality teachers and abundant resources. But what about quality air? Now more than ever Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) really matters. As a result, government agencies, parents and schools are giving attention to the quality of the air our children breathe.
The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been a powerful reminder that You Are What You Breathe. Why? Because Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has a major impact on our health. So let’s take a deep breath and dive in! What tools can we use to improve IAQ in schools? How is Boston Public Schools (BPS) blazing the IAQ trail? What guidance does the EPA provide? Finally, how can your school take action to improve IAQ?
You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure
You Can’t Manage What You Can’t Measure, a webinar hosted in May 2022 by the EPA, focused on measuring IAQ in schools. The webinar detailed how to implement cost-effective IAQ monitoring to improve the respiratory health of students and staff by reducing air pollutants, viruses, and allergens. Speakers from Boston Public Schools, University of Colorado at Boulder, IBEC and the EPA provided successful strategies to monitor IAQ and assess ventilation and HVAC systems to provide healthier indoor air.
Boston Public Schools Blazes the Trail and Takes Measurable Action
Boston Public Schools has adopted IAQ standards following federal, state, and city recommendations on air quality and ventilation in schools. As a result, IAQ sensors have been installed in all Boston classrooms, Nurse’s Offices, and Main Offices, with roof-top units installed in every school building to measure outdoor air as a baseline per location. These sensors report information in real-time on key measures of air quality. This data is used to direct changes to the set-up in each classroom and note any additional work needed to reach optimal air quality and ventilation.
BPS sensors record the following: Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Airborne particulates – Total (PM10), Airborne Particulates – Respirable (PM2.5), Temperature (T) and Relative Humidity (RH%). BPS IAQ real-time data can be accessed by visiting the BPS IAQ Sensor Dashboard.
The BPS action plan included deploying 5,000 air purifiers to their schools last year. Along with that, air purifier air filters are replaced every six months. Additionally, more than 12,000 windows were repaired to support airflow and increase ventilation. For schools with HVAC systems, MERV-13 filters were replaced.
The EPA Clears the Air and Sets the Standard
In March the EPA launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge. In conjunction with that, Dr. Alondra Nelson, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) hosted a panel discussion on Covid and Clean Indoor Air. Dr. Nelson stated that “clean indoor air is a vital part of our pandemic preparedness toolkit and our public health toolkit.” Underscoring the urgency for improved IAQ in schools, the EPA provides The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Program.
What Action Can Schools Take To Improve Their IAQ?
The use of American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds are an extraordinary opportunity for schools to make measurable changes in air quality. ARP’s ESSER, EANS, and HEERF funds cover air quality solutions to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 in schools. The good news is these funds can be used to install Air Purifiers in every classroom. This greatly enhances ventilation and filtration, which reduces the transmission of airborne pathogens.
How White Coat Can Help Your School’s IAQ
White Coat is an Indoor Air Quality Solutions provider. We offer Air Disinfectors with 6 stages of filtration and UVGI-PCO units for HVAC systems. Both solutions are chemical free and highly effective at removing airborne pathogens and creating healthy IAQ in schools.
As a Cornerstone member of the International Well Building Institute, we are actively supporting the movement towards advancing human health in buildings and communities around the world. For more information on how to solve for healthier schools and buildings and clean indoor air, please give us a call at 321.795.9800. You Are What You Breathe™️.