TAPA's COVID-19 IAQ Monitoring

Is Your Child’s School Air Safe?

How the Stimulus Packages Will Help Children Return to Schools Safely

Across the country, the national conversation about reopening schools continues with strong opinions for and against. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is urging schools to open as quickly as possible, and they are studying the impact of 3 feet versus 6 feet social distancing requirements. In many schools, coronavirus levels may not be adequately controlled, and many school buildings across the country have aging HVAC systems, poor ventilation, and a lack of operable windows.

Source: Future Ed- independent, a solution-oriented think tank at Georgetown University's McCourt School of Public Policy

  • Many schools used funds from the March 2020 Cares Act primarily for PPE equipment.

  • Many used the Dec 2020 Covid Relief Package for Chromebooks for remote learning.

  • Most schools will use some of the American Rescue Plan funds for building upgrades such as HVAC to get students back into the classroom.

  • “We have focused on updating and upgrading our HVAC systems in certain of our schools. And so, that is related, primarily to air quality issues in those schools. Some older systems and units plus some ionization that would help remove impurities from the air.” said Johnson City Schools Superintendent Dr. Steve Barnett.

                                                                       Source: News Channel 11’s Bianca Marais, Johnson City TN.

 

This past week the American Rescue Plan Act Summary of K–12 Education Provisions Funding for Education was approved as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package. What it means:

  • $123 billion for K–12 state education agencies

  • $2,500 per student nationwide, but high-poverty districts will see more.

  • $800 million for homeless children

  • $40 billion for institutions of higher education

  • $2.75 billion to states for private schools

  • $3 billion for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

 

Distribution of K–12 Funding (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund) The amount of funding allocated to each state and district will be based on the relative amount of Title I funding the state or district receives. States are required to subgrant at least 87.5 percent of their funding to school districts (including charter schools that are considered school districts).

 

Local Educational Agency Use of Funds:

Within 30 days of receiving funding, school districts must publish a plan to reopen schools for in-person instruction. In addition, at least 20% of funds must be used to address learning loss through evidence-based interventions that respond to students’ academic, social, and emotional needs.

The remaining funds can be used  for such purposes as:

  • coordinating with public health departments;

  • school facility repairs to reduce risk of virus transmission and support student health;

  • repairing school facilities, especially ventilation systems, to improve air quality and reduce the spread of Covid;

  • implementing public health protocols including policies in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention for school-reopening; (see below)

  • conducting activities to address the needs of students from low-income families, children with disabilities, English learners, racial and ethnic minorities, students experiencing homelessness, and foster care youth;

  • purchasing educational technology (including hardware, software, and connectivity as well as assistive technology or adaptive equipment);

  • summer learning, and supplemental after-school programs;

  • mental health services;

  • addressing learning loss;

  • implementing activities to maintain the operation and continuity of services and to employ existing staff.

 

Maintaining State Funding:

To receive funding, states must provide at least as much funding for K–12 and higher education in fiscal years 2022 and 2023 as a proportion of the state’s overall spending (averaged over fiscal years 2017, 2018, and 2019). However, this requirement can be waived by the Secretary of Education. In addition, states and districts must comply with new Maintenance of Equity requirements that prevent state and local funding cuts from disproportionately impacting high poverty districts and schools.

Now that we know massive funds are available for making improvements to speed the return of students to the classroom, what needs to be done to create a safer environment?

The Harvard Healthy Buildings program and almost all other similar programs all recommend four to six air changes per hour at a minimum in classrooms.

The CDC recently updated its guidance on ventilation, urging a layered strategy. The consensus is clear that COVID-19 appears to be an aerosol disease, and technology and system upgrades are happening where operators want to monitor inside and outside air.  

The CDC and ASHRAE Core Recommendations for Reducing Infectious Aerosol Exposure

  • Follow All Public Health Guidelines (social distancing, masks, PPE, occupancy, hygiene, sanitation)

  • Ventilation, Filtration, Air Cleaning (outdoor airflow, MERV 13 +, effective air cleaners)

  • Air Distribution (promote mixing of air without causing strong air currents)

  • HVAC System Operation (maintain temperature, humidity, air supply, flush spaces between occupied periods)

  • System Verification (verify that systems and mitigation efforts are functioning as designed) (Indoor Air Quality Monitoring.)

 

Many schools are improving air filtration and air flow rates, implementing Ultraviolet Lighting (UV) and Ionization, along with enhancing cleaning procedures to improve the air quality. But how do we know these migration steps are being effective? What is needed is an Indoor Air Quality Monitoring solution that provides an at-a-glance assessment of your air quality, on a simple 0 to 100 scale, Tapa IAQ Score.

The Tapa IAQ Score provides a simple rating that can be accessed via smartphones, computers, digital signage, kiosks, and numerous other methods.  It allows parents to know the air quality is safe, and lets school technical departments know if adjustments need to be made to any of the mitigation efforts.  A single sensor provides environmental readings for Temperature, Humidity, Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Particulate Matter (PM2.5), Total Volatile Organic Compounds (TVOC), and Air Flow.

This cost-effective and easy-to-install and use IP-enabled software connects with the building ecosystem with easy integration of devices, other building systems, and cloud services. A Flexible cafeteria-style solution’s menu enables building operators to add solutions all at once or one at a time to better manage and optimize systems.

What does Tapa’s Indoor Air Quality Monitoring solution do?

  • Helps win the fight against coronavirus,

  • Re-opens education in a safer & healthier learning environment,

  • Helps teachers, staff, and students come back to schools with confidence,

  • Collects data for improved building performance and lower costs,

  • Creates intelligent environments that are energy resilient,

  • Delivers the industry’s first and only Unified Building Platform.

 

 

 

 

As Covid-19 continues to impact schools, recovery and long-term resilience lies in the ability of school districts to address parents’ very real and growing concerns around the health and safety of re-entering schools– specifically with real-time data-driven insights to inform them that the indoor air is clean and contaminant-free.

Contact sales@tapa.cc for more information or call 1-703-717-1484

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