The Importance of Air Quality in the Classroom
As students return to school hallways and education returns to normal, new indoor air quality (IAQ) considerations will apply. In a world of heightened safety concerns, schools will need to take precautions to ensure a healthy indoor climate. IAQ has a bigger impact on populations as compared to the outdoor environment because most of us spend 90% of our time inside buildings.
The variation in exposure between indoor and outdoor climates can influence the health and development of children. Making air quality a primary concern for school administrators. To return kids safely to in-person education, improving IAQ will require facility managers and academic administrators to review their current systems and practices.
Why Air Quality in the Classroom Matters
Once the hustle and bustle return to classrooms and hallways, parents and administrators will have to take a closer look at their indoor air handling and filtration solutions. Indoor air pollution was already one of the top five risks to public health according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Science Advisory Board (SAB).
The COVID-19 pandemic naturally compounds the issues when it comes to managing indoor air quality. Schools need to be safe just like office buildings and restaurants. Apart from the current risks, poor IAQ in schools can lead to other issues. Such as coughing, allergic reactions, eye irritation, and long-term breathing problems.
How to Improve Classroom IAQ
These three considerations will help improve the air quality of classrooms.
1. Brush Up on IAQ Best Practices
Implement EPA’s latest IAQ Tools for Schools guidance, particularly its Framework for Effective School IAQ Management. It includes technical solutions to common issues. It also provides you with different case studies that helped improve the indoor air quality management systems in other schools.
With these best practices in place, administrators can save money while improving health and decrease student and staff absenteeism.
2. Embrace New Technologies Where Possible
Today’s technology allows administrators and facility managers to plan, schedule, and track their HVAC maintenance using mobile applications. Similarly, the EPA provides an app designed for IAQ assessments in schools. You can conduct your own evaluation and record the results.
The EPA’s School IAQ Assessment app assists you to identify and address issues with air quality. It includes considerations like ventilation, environmental asthma triggers, pest management, and cleaning or maintenance of air handling systems. For any area where your current framework isn’t meeting the latest standards, the EPA’s app will recommend corrective actions.
3. Maintain and Optimize HVAC Systems
The EPA recommends maintaining air distribution equipment whether the school is open or closed. If you’ve shut down equipment for extended periods, you should restart the system following the required procedures.
Adding additional filtration and gas-phase air cleaning strategies to your system should also be a consideration. To get guidance on where you can improve, request the assistance of a professional HVAC company.
Improve IAQ in Schools with The Severn Group
Getting schools ready to accommodate students, faculty, staff, and visitors is a major challenge. Start with requesting an assessment from a company like The Severn Group. We can review your current systems and identify where you can improve your school’s IAQ. Our team is ready to assist your school with any of your IAQ needs. To find out how we can help, contact The Severn Group today. Also, check out our education center for more information related to IAQ.