October 6, 2021
As many students, teachers, and administrators return to in-person learning this fall, there are mixed feelings about health and safety. School districts have come under heat time and time again for building issues, particularly in underfunded communities. For instance, a 2020 report from the United States Government Accountability Office found that “one-third of public schools were estimated to have inadequate heat, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.” Since COVID-19 spreads most rapidly in poorly ventilated areas, there is urgency amongst school leaders to improve indoor air quality and, therefore, reduce the spread of lingering airborne viruses.
Improving ventilation not only contributes to a healthier learning environment but one where staff and teachers feel comfortable to perform their best. This starts with understanding the current state of indoor air quality. Installing air quality sensors like Awair Omni in learning areas in schools allows for ongoing data collection so necessary changes can be made more quickly. For schools, real-time readings allow changes to be made swiftly in the affected rooms. Similarly, school board members and facility managers can use the data to identify trends and target buildings that require broader intervention plans or larger scale corrective work.
Schools and communities are encouraged to make indoor air quality improvements to prevent the spread of diseases with the American Rescue Plan (ARP) funds for COVID-19. By making an investment now, your district can address immediate ventilation needs and support the school’s infrastructure for the next 20 years. With $122 billion set aside for indoor air quality improvements, there has never been a better time for public schools to submit plans. The available funds can make a big difference for facilities programs that have been neglected. More than that, the funding is flexible because indoor air quality priorities differ depending on the location. All 50 states can invest in what meets their school’s unique needs and goals.
To start monitoring the indoor air quality in your K-12 schools, contact our Sales team today. They can work to understand your specific needs and recommend a customized plan.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that tens of billions of dollars are lost every year due to low office air quality impacting the health of office staff. The science of indoor air is so important that a report published by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health cited indoor air as one of the nine key foundations of a healthy office building.
Getting your family ready for the new school year can be bittersweet, and as you drop your child off for their first day of school, it’s easy to feel anxious about whether or not you’ve prepared them for success in the upcoming year. Even if you were able to get them everything on their back-to-school shopping list, you know your child’s ability to learn and grow depends on what happens once they enter the classroom--but what if it turned out their classroom was hindering their productivity and overall health?Unhealthy classrooms are much more common than we realize, and one of the main culprits is hiding in plain sight: the quality of air children are breathing in their classrooms. Many of us take for granted that the air we’re breathing is healthy and safe since it’s not something we can typically see–but this isn’t the case, especially for air that’s indoors. In fact, indoor air can be 5x more polluted than outdoors, which can affect allergies, asthma, our ability to concentrate, the quality of our sleep, and more. Particularly “unhealthy” or “bad” air can even cause a variety of health problems, including dry skin and eyes, coughing and sneezing, headaches, hives, and nausea.
Evidence suggests that COVID-19 lockdowns have significantly improved outdoor air quality. In the northeastern U.S., NASA registered a 30% drop in air pollution. UK researchers believe cleaner air has saved thousands of lives. In China, meanwhile, a recent study even suggests that lockdown “has saved more lives through improved air quality than were lost to COVID-19.”