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Majority of schools took steps to improve air quality during pandemic

Districts still have unmet needs, face high costs and outdated building infrastructure.

May 05, 2021 |

Courtesy Pixabay

A majority of school districts in the U.S. have taken measures to improve indoor air quality during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council and ASHRAE.

But many districts still have unmet needs, while facing high costs and outdated building infrastructure. “The results of the survey show that schools have implemented some protective measures to improve IAQ, prioritizing ventilation and filtration to reduce the transmission of the virus,” a USGBC news release says.

The report “provides a wide-scale, foundational framework to school leaders and lawmakers alike towards the implementation of new building design guidelines and to advance health and sustainability goals,” the release says.

The report’s findings include:

• School districts that have been able to act have leaned heavily on their mechanical systems, such as increasing air supply through HVAC systems or upgrading filters to implement protective air quality measures for students and teachers.

• Only two-thirds of respondents were regularly monitoring IAQ before the pandemic, indicating that providing time, staff, and funding for regular monitoring and data collection has not been a priority for many districts in the past.

• Respondents want to continue the measures implemented during the pandemic, citing student and teacher health. Seventy percent of school districts plan to continue some or all of the strategies they’ve implemented.

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