Why Indoor Air Quality and COVID-19 Reduction Matter for Schools
How CARES Act Funding Could Help Your School District
More than ever before, people want to know what’s in the air they’re breathing. Whether it’s related to residential air quality or indoor air health in a commercial space, such as a school, people are self-educating about particulate matter, virus transmission, and poor indoor air quality.
From K–12 schools to institutions of higher learning, here’s a breakdown of what schools need to know about how cold plasma generator indoor air improvement systems can effectively reduce COVID-19.
Why It’s So Important for Schools to Address COVID-19
Most obviously, schools have the health and safety of their students, teachers, staff members, and visitors in mind. Reducing COVID-19 in the occupied space means less people who are subjected to getting sick.
Beyond health and safety, though, schools have some additional incentives to address COVID-19:
Improving indoor air quality can reduce absenteeism from allergies, colds, viruses, sick building syndrome, and more. This allows children the greatest opportunity to be in the classroom learning every day. It can also minimize the disruptions associated with teacher absences.
In-person learning provides a level of attention and efficacy that virtual learning can’t always reproduce. By improving indoor air quality (and reducing the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission), schools could open back up for in-person instruction.
Improve Test Scores
Public school budgets can often be tied to test score results. While the wisdom of this practice is a hotly debated issue, the fact remains that schools with better scores get more financial backing. With the benefits of in-person learning and fewer student absences, test scores could improve.
Increase Attendance-Related Budgets
A public school’s federal budget is also tied to student attendance rates. When students are absent, the school’s budget is directly affected. Of course, keeping students healthy and in their classrooms is good for the children, but it’s also positive for a schools’ financial planning.
If you can communicate to your students, parents, teachers, staff members, and visitors that you’ve taken effective steps to improve air quality and to reduce COVID-19 transmission, you can increase confidence in a safe return to in-person learning.
Meet Green Building Initiatives
Ionizing the air in your school can have an environmentally friendly impact. Cold plasma generators increase the efficiency and effectiveness of your existing HVAC filters. This means schools can enjoy the results of a MERV 13 filter—without changing out their standard MERV 8. Not only is this more cost effective, but it puts less strain on the HVAC system.
Access CARES Act Funds to Address Your School’s Indoor Air Quality
The CARES Act and the subsequent Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 both set aside funds dedicated to helping schools safely reopen through the COVID-19 pandemic. This included funding for facility improvements, such as air purification systems[LH3] , HVAC equipment, and more.
As with any federal funding, there are stipulations and red tape. You’ll need to assess if your school and improvement plans qualify. If they do, though, it means you could access those federal funds to entirely or partially pay for indoor air quality improvement systems throughout your district.
Schools looking to make a subsidized long-term investment in student health should act now. Installing a system like a cold plasma generator would help during the current crisis, but it would also have positive long-term effects on allergies, asthma symptoms, mold mitigation, odor elimination, and seasonal virus deactivation.
Eliminating COVID-19 and More
With the right indoor air quality technology, a school can address not only COVID-19 (the crisis of today) but a variety of common and potentially serious illnesses in the future. This includes the following:
- Common flu or colds
- MRSA (staph)
- E. coli
- Scarlet fever
- Strep throat
- Whooping cough
- Breathing disorders
Address Particulate on Surfaces and in the Air
If your school is looking into different indoor air quality improvement systems, make sure the technology can control particulate matter in the air and on surfaces. COVID-19 can enter indoor air on a dust particle, it can be breathed out by someone infected, or it can be transmitted by touching surfaces, such as stainless steel, ABS plastic (children’s toys, scissor handles, etc.), glass, and more.
When using cold plasma generators, deactivating the virus happens in one of two ways:
- Negatively charged oxygen ions meet a virus, disrupt the surface proteins, and inactivate it.
- Statically charged particles come together, getting larger and larger through a process known as “agglomeration.” These particles then fall out of the air or get captured in the HVAC system’s filter. When a virus attaches to a larger particulate, it also becomes more difficult for that virus to infect anyone.
For a more detailed explanation of how the technology works, read here.
Choosing this technology also means the following:
- No expensive replacement parts.
- No detectable ozone production.
- Installation in your existing HVAC equipment.
- Access to CARES Act funding.
Breaking the Cycle of Illness
When it comes to air quality improvement systems, such as cold plasma generators, the first important caveat is that they don’t replace best practices. For the greatest efficacy and safety, this technology should still be used in conjunction with mask wearing, hand washing, social distancing, and regular cleaning.
Two, vaccinations are the long-term solution to eliminating this particular crisis. When you are eligible to receive your shots, do so.
Three, proactively addressing indoor air quality in both the residential and commercial spheres is a smart way to get ahead of the unknown. Cold plasma generators can simultaneously address mold, odors, allergens, bacteria, and viruses in the air and on surfaces. This can put you in the best position to combat whatever the next pandemic or outbreak might be.
Interested in learning more about how your school can improve their indoor air quality? Have questions about how to access CARES Act funds to pay for these improvements? Reach out today. We love to help schools deliver the safest, cleanest air possible!
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