The Education Department announced guidelines for how schools, colleges, and universities can use federal funding to optimize their ventilation systems as the school year begins. The guidance comes as the contagious delta variant has caused infection rates to rapidly grow over the summer, even among children. The American Rescue Plan gives schools and districts resources that will enable them to guarantee proper ventilation and maintain healthy learning environments. The plan includes $122 billion for K-12 schools.
The money can be used for inspection, testing, maintenance, repair, replacement and upgrades to improve the indoor air quality in school facilities, including mechanical and non-mechanical heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, filtering, purification, fans, control systems and window and door repair.
Specifically, schools can use the funding to buy portable air filtration units and filters for HVAC systems, fans, repair windows and doors so they can open to let fresh air in, purchase equipment to hold outdoor classes, and purchase carbon dioxide monitors and air flow capture hoods. Schools will also use the funding to pay for higher heating and cooling expenses, since those systems will likely undergo increased usage. The Education Department’s goal is to help schools identify helpful resources quickly and effectively so students can be safe coming back to in-person learning.
Chris Miller is former assistant editor, Facility Market.