Clean Air for Schools
Safe and healthy air in classrooms benefits students in many ways—from better concentration to fewer absences. But today, we cannot discuss air quality without focusing on COVID-19. Coronavirus spreads by aerosols released when people breathe, cough, sneeze, or even laugh. While surface cleaning, face masks, and other safety measures are helpful, according to experts, protecting air quality is a critical safety consideration for any shared space—especially classrooms.
"Airborne transmission is happening," said Joseph Allen, director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in the Boston Herald. "If you dilute or clean the air, you can further reduce those airborne particle concentrations."
How Classroom Air Purifiers Protect Students & Teachers
Research shows that continued exposure to airborne virus particles, over time, equates to a higher risk of infection. We also know virus particles can float weightlessly across large indoor spaces, well beyond social distancing guidelines. By cleaning the complete air volume within a room, HEPA air purifiers make the air safer by capturing virus particles.
What are the most important features for a classroom air purifier?
- Effective Filtration - Is the purifier’s filter capable of capturing virus particles along with other particles like allergens and pollutants? Look for a True HEPA (H13) filter.
- Strong Air Movement - A powerful HEPA purifier for classrooms must clean the entire classroom's air multiple times per hour. Experts recommend 3-6 ACH (air changes per hour).
- Low Noise Output - A classroom air purifier is of little value if its effective operation disturbs the class or harms concentration. Most reputable purifiers list decibel output at its high and low levels.
- High Energy Efficiency - To do its job, air purifiers for classrooms should run 24/7 or at least anytime the building is occupied. Look for HEPA air purifiers that are ENERGY STAR Certified.
What common factors can cause allergy and asthma issues at school?
- Old buildings - They can emit particles from lead-based paints, crumbling masonry, areas that have not been cleaned in years, and hidden mold. Poor ventilation is often present, and sometimes water leaks and pest infestation are issues.
- Chemicals - Pesticides, toxic fumes from harsh chemicals, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), fragrances, and cleaning solutions can be dangerous on their own, but the combination of chemicals can quickly send a child into an asthma attack.
- Particulates - Classrooms are loaded with particulate that irritates the tender airways of children, including old furniture and carpeting, soot, animal dander from classroom pets, paper dust, clothing fibers, and dead skin cells.