“Two weeks away from school.”
That was what was initially assumed back in March of 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic first lurched its way into our lives. But as weeks stretched into months, it became increasingly clear that a return to the classroom was not an immediate option.
Now, however, as we venture further into 2021, the matter of indoor air quality in schools remains a prominent source of concern for many.
Consequently, many principals and school board leaders have hastily invested their COVID-19 funding from the American Rescue Plan into classroom-based air purifiers — the likes of which may not be as effective as they initially thought. The nature of these one-time funds is a great opportunity for schools to put durable investment into facilities that will provide long-term health benefits to schools, so before spending it on solutions that may not be a “one-size-fits-all,” it is better to validate the air quality in schools with InstaScope and know what kind of solutions are actually lowering the risk of exposure to the greatest extent feasible.
The Introduction Of Ionization
By diffusing ions into the air of a given space, it may become easier to effectively filter the air. This is because air ionization causes airborne particles — like the COVID-19 virus — to clump together, thereby becoming larger and more likely to be caught in an air filtration system.
The problem, however, lies in the fact that it may be difficult to adequately saturate the air with enough ions to reduce the presence of the renowned coronavirus.
For example, in May of 2020, technological developer Global Plasma Solutions funded a study to confirm the efficacy of their ion-emitting air purifiers. The problem? The study, which ultimately boasted the device’s ability to inactivate a whopping 99% of COVID-19 particles in a space, was conducted within the confines of a literal shoebox.
Thus, as school board leaders, teachers, and parents alike clamored to install a myriad of such devices in their own schools with federal funding, a new question arose: “Are we being lulled into a false sense of security?”
It goes without saying that a classroom is, of course, much larger than that of a shoebox. Moreover, the devices being bought for educational purposes allegedly deliver a far lower level of ionized power than initially applied in the shoebox study, thereby calling into question their overall efficacy.
The Obstacle That Is Ozone
If the shadow of doubt being cast upon ionizing devices wasn’t enough, many schools also found themselves being unwittingly drawn to ozone-generating air purifiers.
“Ozone can harm the respiratory system by inflaming cells that line the upper airways and the lungs — much like a sunburn damages skin,” according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). “Children — including teenagers — are among the groups of people considered most at risk from exposure to ground-level ozone.”
Thus, by being consistently exposed to ozone-generating devices in the classroom, students of any age may experience exacerbated asthma symptoms in addition to impeded lung functionality in general.
For these reasons, the State of California has imposed regulations that cap the maximum ozone output of air purifiers at 50 parts per million, stating that, not only are these air purifiers hazardous, but they are “ineffective at cleaning outdoor air.”
Not many other states, however, have followed suit, and more and more we’re seeing these devices spreading across school districts.
Consequently, where the school-based ion-emitting devices call efficacy into question, these ozone-generating devices are calling students’ overall health into question.
When It’s Time To Take On Professional Testing
Armed with large swaths of coronavirus-related budgets, left with lingering worries amidst ongoing vaccinations, and buffeted on all sides by teachers, parents, and local leaders, there’s little question as to why many school districts today are rushing to invest in indoor air quality technology.
We encourage local air quality inspectors to consider adding the InstaScope to their arsenal of industry-leading technology and focus on the importance of validating the solutions being implemented to improve air quality. When the American Rescue Plan was passed, the Center for Green Schools joined with UndauntedK12 to publish the “Five Guiding Principles: How Schools Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Ensure Healthy Resilient Facilities for Students and Reduce Energy Costs and Emissions.” This plan focuses on key areas that include air quality improvements and verifying the progress.
InstaScope users can measure the overall pollution in a classroom in real-time. Thus, indoor air quality professionals will be capable of helping their local school district to identify how effective, if at all, their air purifier solutions were.
To learn more about how the InstaScope can help you validate the solutions for school indoor air quality, contact DetectionTek today by calling 720-410-7030 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org!