As schools strive to safely conduct in-person learning, new funding is offering opportunities to harness the benefits of healthier indoor environments.
Senior Vice President, Carrier Building Solutions Group
What is one precaution schools can put in place to mitigate health risks for students?
Every school building is different, and there are many aspects to creating safer and healthier indoor environments. From an engineering systems perspective, filtration can play a critical role in enhancing indoor air quality. In buildings with mechanical ventilation systems, existing filters may be upgraded to filters with efficiency ratings of at least MERV 13. If existing HVAC systems cannot accommodate MERV 13 filters, in-room HEPA air filter units can dramatically improve indoor air quality. This type is eligible for new federal funding under the recent omnibus spending bill, which set aside $54 billion for HVAC system upgrades and safety supplies.
What is one tip you have for administrators as schools go back to in-person learning?
One thing I’d tell administrators is to look at their building holistically and long term. The immediate goal is to safely enable in-person learning, but new funding is also providing opportunities to impact students for generations. Research shows that making school buildings healthier, especially with respect to ventilation and air quality, will yield resilient schools that are more prepared to support students in future outbreaks and improve overall student wellbeing and cognitive performance. Our experts in the Carrier Healthy Buildings Program can help identify these opportunities and support ongoing improvements for the building lifecycle.