K-12 Districts Encouraged to Upgrade HVAC Systems
March 1, 2021
As more K-12 school districts nationwide prepare their facilities for students and staff to return to full-time instruction, scrutiny is growing on the role of HVAC systems in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. In many cases, the question is whether existing systems — often outdated and inadequately maintained — are even up to the task.
In Michigan, for example, state leaders recently encouraged school districts to jump at the opportunity for a state-subsidized inspection of air quality systems and strongly consider using upcoming federal COVID-19 aid to make upgrades this year, according to Chalkbeat Detroit.
Many Michigan schools lack heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems capable of filtering COVID-19 from the air. Earlier in the pandemic, federal officials estimated that 41 percent of schools nationwide needed HVAC system upgrades.
Those upgrades could help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools as a growing number of Michigan districts reopen their classrooms.
The state is covering the cost of professional HVAC inspections for school districts to give district leaders an idea of improvements they could make and at what cost. Michigan schools are on tap to receive $1.7 billion in federal COVID-19 relief, which must be spent over the next three years.
Dan Hounsell is editor of Facility Maintenance Decisions.