Returning to the classroom has been a topic of debate for some time as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, the federal government has stepped in to provide educators and administrators with the resources they need to mitigate viral spread and improve indoor air quality.
But even with professional guidance in place, there may still be some stumbling blocks on the road to reliable results — and schools are being left to determine their own priorities without data that can help inform the decision-making process for budgets.
Here’s what you need to know and should consider when prioritizing where funds can be allocated for reopening schools:
Federal Funding To The Rescue
On March 11, 2021, the American Rescue Plan was officially adopted as public law in the United States. Designed to directly enable continued relief efforts in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, individual citizens and businesses were not the only ones to reap the benefits of the newfound bill. Rather, public schools were also provided with the necessary funds to further their endeavors of both fostering and maintaining healthy environments for staff and students alike.
According to a press release published by the U.S. Department of Education, this plan specifically identifies and focuses on elements that are crucial to such efforts, including indoor air quality optimization and analysis.
In particular, the two organizations saw the opportunity to provide enhanced clarity and guidance to school leaders in terms of how to both strategically spend and optimize the funds they had been provided with — the likes of which amounted to over $170 billion dollars of federal investment.
Today, we can see one of the tangible products of this collaboration in a new guide that was published in late March and subsequently updated in June of this year: “Five Guiding Principles: How Schools Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Ensure Healthy, Resilient Facilities for Students and Reduce Energy Costs and Emissions.”
Inspecting School Savings and Overall Strategies
As school boards, principals, and administrators have begun to strategize and spend their influx of federal funds, we have observed a concerning trend: many of them have invested in air purification technologies that further impede indoor air quality by generating ozone and/or diffusing an insufficient volume of ionized particles.
While these purchases were doubtlessly made with the best possible intentions, the hasty and expeditious nature of their implementation has potentially nullified leaders’ very efforts.
For example, technological developer Global Plasma Solutions conducted a company-funded study last year that was intended to verify and boast the ability of their ion-emitting air purifiers to inactivate an estimated 99% of COVID-19 particles in a given space.
The problem? Their tests were conducted in a space as large as a shoebox, meaning their overall results were misleading for anyone interested in placing those purifiers in a larger setting… like a classroom.
Unfortunately, as of May 2021, many schools had reportedly spent millions of dollars of their federal funding on these devices, only to later realize that they may not function as promised.
In this way, we can see how crucial it is to make a verification tool available to these schools so that they may establish regular air quality testing programs as a part of their facilities that regularly test for mold, bacteria, viruses, and pollen.
After all, with such a verification tool, not only will these facilities be able to keep data collections available, but they will also allow their schools to stay on top of air quality changes.
Thankfully, InstaScope provides exactly that.
Earning An “A” For Air The First Time
Put simply, as great as the new funnel of federal funding may be, investments and improvements may ultimately amount to nothing if they yield no results or, worse, yield results that confirm exacerbated hazards in terms of indoor air quality. Moreover, any efforts that are positively impactful may be rendered useless if they are not measured and adjusted for long-term efficacy.
Thus, by integrating InstaScope’s state-of-the-art technology, professionals can not only conclusively inform educational leaders about what specific improvements should be considered, but they can also continue to assess and measure the outcomes of those strategies for years to come.
After all, InstaScope can:
- Measure and compare total air biological loads unlimited times, thereby tracking contaminant presence and exposure over time
- Identify which rooms or educational spaces should take priority in terms of an action plan for repair, replacement, or remediation
- Gather insight and indoor air quality data for every classroom and keep it stored in a Cloud-based system for easy and secure access
- Test for mold, bacteria, pollen, and other biological contaminants regularly
- And more
Additionally, “to be successful, ongoing and effective, staff training is needed to ensure that maintenance and custodial staff are well-prepared to support any new technology or new procedures,” the aforementioned guide specifies.
InstaScope, then, is also an effective tool in that training is easy, repeatable, turn-key, and can be brought in-house by facilities directors or service providers. The reports are easy to understand and share with others, thereby enhancing both ease of use and overall transparency in the greater educational setting.
Consequently, a school’s administrative team may more easily implement master plans, life-cycle cost analyses, new product testing, HVAC monitoring protocols, and more based on scientific facts provided by InstaScope in real-time.
To learn more about how the InstaScope can help you validate the solutions, strategies, and technologies for school indoor air quality, contact DetectionTek today by calling 720-410-7030 or emailing email@example.com!