The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council released a new report detailing how school districts around the country have managed air quality within their buildings during the second year of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report, Managing Air Quality in the Pandemic: How K-12 Schools Addressed Air Quality in the Second Year of COVID-19, says that the chief obstacle for schools in implementing many recommended indoor air quality (IAQ) measures is that buildings’ HVAC systems were not designed to implement recommendations for improvement. Specific challenges were not found to be associated with any particular school district characteristics studied, such as demographics, locale or size, the study says.
During the past year, schools prioritized increasing outdoor air intake by whatever means were available to them. Just over half of school districts reported that they felt they had access to funding to support additional indoor air quality-related building improvements.
Non-urban districts were more likely to lean on state and local guidance, while urban districts were more likely to use federal-level guidance and guidance from national organizations like ASHRAE. Over a quarter of districts responded that there were no new plans to implement additional ventilation, filtration, or other building changes in schools.