How To Improve Air Quality In Schools
The value of in-person schooling is immeasurable and we all want a return to normal by doing what is best for students, educators and parents. Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the State of Michigan are working diligently with local school officials and community leaders to ensure schools can operate with proven mitigation measures in place.
STATE OF MICHIGAN GUIDELINES FOR OPERATING SCHOOLS SAFELY THROUGH VENTILATION
- Increase outdoor air ventilation, using caution in highly polluted areas.
- When weather conditions allow, increase fresh outdoor air by opening windows and doors (if possible) unless this poses a safety or health risk (e.g., risk of falling, triggering asthma symptoms)
- Use fans to increase the effectiveness of open windows.
- Position fans securely and carefully in or near windows to facilitate outdoor air exchange
- Consider ventilation system upgrades or improvements after obtaining consultation from experienced Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professionals and reviewing specific guidance (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Guidance for Building Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic).
- The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) has a program to assist Michigan K-12 public schools by providing recommendations to reduce infectious aerosol transmission via the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems. This program surveys Michigan K-12 public schools to gather information on their HVAC systems. On completing the survey, schools are eligible to request an onsite inspection from a licensed HVAC contractor for recommendations.
- Air filters should be changed on a more frequent basis and per manufacturers' guidance.
- See this EGLE document and this EPA website for additional air quality best practices.