How Air Purifiers Could Have Helped Keep Schools Open During COVID

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The COVID-19 pandemic underscored the importance of maintaining a healthy in-person learning environment, with schools facing significant challenges in ensuring student safety. Air purifiers are one solution that could have helped keep schools open. As we move forward, integrating the best air purifiers into classrooms is a vital part of maintaining our children’s health and uninterrupted learning.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented challenges to every sector, including education. Schools faced closures, leading to disruptions in the learning process and mental health issues. These challenges underscore how important it is to maintain in-person education to facilitate a healthy learning environment.

Such an environment goes beyond curriculums and teaching methods. It also encompasses the physical space where our children learn. Keeping this space free from harmful pathogens is a top priority, especially during a pandemic. 

Air purifiers are one solution that could have helped keep schools open during peak COVID times. This article will explore their pivotal role in kids health and how you can find the best air purifier for COVID and other harmful airborne viruses. 

Challenges Schools Face in Keeping Kids Healthy 

During the pandemic, schools grappled with the dual challenge of continuing education while keeping their students and staff safe. They had to rethink their strategies, adopt new norms, and find innovative solutions to keep the learning environment safe.

Challenges Schools Faced

The most pressing concern schools faced was school closures.

The lack of infrastructure for remote learning posed significant challenges, leading to educational disparities as 463 million children globally couldn’t access online classes. Several factors also took a toll on students’ mental health, including:

  • Isolation from peers
  • Anxiety from the pandemic
  • The challenges of remote learning
  • The stress of adapting to new learning methods

These factors exacerbated feelings of loneliness, anxiety, and depression among students. Furthermore, schools struggled to provide mental health support, especially since many counseling services were traditionally offered in person. 

Airborne Transmission and Classroom Vulnerability

The risk of virus transmission became another significant concern, given the close quarters in which students learn and interact.  

The virus responsible for COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) can spread through larger respiratory droplets and smaller aerosol particles that remain suspended in the air for extended periods. Individuals who are in proximity to an infected person could inhale those aerosols, even if they are more than six feet away.

Since classrooms are indoor environments that often host a large number of students in relatively confined spaces for prolonged durations, they are particularly vulnerable to airborne diseases like COVID-19. Without effective ventilation and air purification, classrooms can become reservoirs of viral particles and expose everyone to the risk of potential infections.

These facts highlight the importance of ventilation and air purification in school environments to reduce the concentration of the virus in the air and subsequently lower the risk of infection.

Benefits of Air Purifiers in Schools

One of the most effective tools for maintaining clean air in educational institutions is the air purifier. Air purifiers work by drawing in air from the environment and passing it through filters that trap harmful particles, including viruses, bacteria, and allergens like dust and pollen.

Advanced air purifiers equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters can capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, effectively reducing the concentration of airborne virus particles. They significantly lower the risk of viral transmission in indoor settings like classrooms by continuously cycling and purifying the air.

Air purifiers bring a host of other benefits to schools, including:

  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Reduction of airborne pathogens
  • Allergy and asthma symptom relief
  • Improved long-term health
  • Enhanced cognitive function

Best Air Purifiers to Help Keep School Air Healthy

So, what is the best air purifier? We’ve curated a list of top three picks for schools based on their features and performance.

Genano 5210

The Genano 5210 is an industrial air purifier that acts as a comprehensive air decontamination system for spaces up to 4,000 square feet. It’s scientifically proven to eliminate 99.999% of airborne microbes down to nanosize. Most HEPA purifiers are rated to capture particles as small as 0.3 nanometers (μm), but the Genano 5210 captures and eliminates particles as small as 0.003 μm. This means it can effectively neutralize threats even smaller than the COVID-19 virus, which measures about 0.126 μm.

With other features such as self-cleaning and an active carbon canister, this air purifier is perfect for large school environments such as gymnasiums.

Genano 310

The Genano 310 shares many of the same specifications as the 5210, including eliminating 99.999% of airborne microbes down to a nanosize of 0.003 μm. It also features self-cleaning capabilities and an active carbon canister, but it is more compact and covers a smaller area of 2,000 square feet, making it perfect for classrooms and offices.

TruSens Z700

The TruSens Z700 is a compact air purifier that covers 2,000 square feet (186 square meters) at two air changes per hour (ACH). It has a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of 930 m3/h and a True HEPA filter + carbon filter combination that eliminates 99.99% of airborne coronavirus, along with most other bacteria and viruses.

It also features a proprietary TRU-BEAM UV-C system that neutralizes harmful microbes and SensorPod™, a remote air quality monitor that ensures cleaner air right when you need it. Color-coded illumination allows you to adjust settings as needed in real time, making for a comfortable and efficient user experience.

Cost-Effectiveness and Long-Term Benefits

While the initial investment in air purifiers for each classroom and shared space in a school might seem substantial, you must consider the broader picture and long-term benefits of maintaining clean air in educational institutions. 

Frequent school closures or shifts to remote learning due to health concerns can disrupt the educational process and incur additional expenses. 

Moreover, you cannot put a price tag on the health of students and staff. Investing in air purifiers proactively mitigates the risk of airborne diseases, providing a safer environment.

Long-Term Benefits of Air Purifiers

Some long-term benefits of air purifiers include:

  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Decreased healthcare costs
  • Increased lifespan of school infrastructure
  • Improved long-term health

Over time, these cumulative benefits can lead to significant savings that offset the upfront investment. 

Considerations and Guidelines to Consider When Purchasing Your Air Purifier

Countless air purifier options are available on the market, but you should look at the following considerations and guidelines to choose a solution that aligns with your institution’s unique requirements.

Selecting and Installing Air Purifiers

When selecting an air purifier for your classroom, start by assessing the size of the rooms or areas where you will place the purifier to ensure it can effectively cover the entire space. Look for purifiers with high CADR values, as these are verified to be more efficient in filtering out contaminants.

Additionally, prioritize models that specifically target airborne microbes through features like UV-C light, True HEPA filters, and activated carbon canisters.

Once you select an air purifier, place it in locations where air circulation is highest while avoiding obstructions like furniture or drapes. You may need to purchase multiple units to cover larger spaces like auditoriums or gymnasiums. 

Finally, follow the manufacturer’s guidelines to complete regular machine maintenance.

Guidelines and Recommendations to Follow

There are also certain guidelines and recommendations from health authorities you should follow.

For example, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends:

  • Using child-safe fans
  • Maximizing outdoor air intake
  • Using portable air cleaners with HEPA filters
  • Using ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) as a supplemental treatment to inactivate SARS-CoV-2.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health also recommend opening windows as much as possible and using portable air purifiers.

Keep the Classroom Healthy and Open

As we move past the COVID-19 pandemic, we still need to prioritize the health and safety of our children and staff. Parents, educators, and policymakers must recognize the invaluable role that air purifiers play in ensuring this safety. The right air purifier can drastically reduce the risk of airborne diseases so that our children can continue learning in a healthy learning environment.

If you want more information on improving air quality in educational settings, here are some invaluable resources:

Are you ready to make a change today and invest in the health and safety of your students and staff?

Give us a call at 1-800-631-3572 , we’d be happy to assist you.

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