News Article

How to follow the recommendations and get kids back in school

The nationwide community is split on its opinions as to whether or not to send kids back to school right now. Some say we’re better waiting it out as numbers continue to grow in some communities. Others say the kids need school and their parents need school so they can go to work and school is necessary, now.

What we can all agree on is IF schools are to reopen in-person, the list of recommendations must be followed for the safety of everyone – students, teachers, faculty, administrators and all those who work in the school.

ASHRAE, The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers is an American professional association seeking to advance heating, ventilation, air conditioning and refrigeration systems design and construction. They have weighed in, specifically, on the recommendations around HVAC systems in buildings such as schools. ASHRAE’s Epidemic Task Force’s position on the subject is as follows:

Transmission of SARS-CoV-2 through the air is sufficiently likely that airborne exposure to the virus should be controlled. Changes to building operations, including the operation of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning [HVAC] systems, can reduce airborne exposures.

In July of 2020 the task force published its recommendations and guidance. In that document, they clearly state:

This guidance has been formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems. The underlying effort of the designer should be to increase outside air to the spaces and treat return air. The designer should also be concerned with mechanical filtration of the supply air and maintaining indoor comfort as defined by the design temperature and relative humidity.

Recommendations include:

  1. Create a committee for the district or campus, focused on health and safety. The committee should have recommendations from environmental health and safety, administration, education staff, operations staff, local healthcare providers, and all stakeholders with a responsibility to the campus and its community.
  2. Develop PPE regulations.
  3. Where semi-annual / annual scheduled maintenance on the equipment can be performed safely, do not defer this maintenance cycle.
  4. If workers will be in an unsafe situation, defer maintenance if possible.
  5. Review Checklist No. 1 provided by ASHRAE to be handled during the summer months.
  6. Operate all HVAC in occupied mode for a minimum of one week prior to occupancy.
  7. During the week prior to occupancy perform Checklist No. 2 Startup Checklist for HVAC Systems Prior to Occupancy – provided by ASHRAE.

For more information regarding these checklists or other recommendations published by ASHRAE, please feel free to reach out to us at (800) 567-1180 or via the contact form on our website. We will be more than happy to help get your school ready to go, no matter where you are located.

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