Indoor Air Quality

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Indoor air quality is something that’s a hot topic these days thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, but healthy indoor air in our schools is about much more than a single virus.

Thanks to the generosity of Central Point voters in passing the 2019 Bond, the District has had the resources to embark on an aggressive campaign to improve air quality in every school.

Indoor air quality refers to the level of air pollutants within an occupied space, especially as they affect the health and comfort of the occupants.

“We have learned a lot about the importance of learning environments on student achievement, and air quality has a direct impact on student learning” said Bret Moore, D6 Board chair.  “Air that is continually refreshed, filtered of harmful pollutants, irritants and organic compounds makes for a better learning experience'' concluded Moore.

There are two basic approaches to improving indoor air quality: dilution and filtration. The District has decided to improve both.

Dilution

In adding and improving heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) to its buildings, the District asked the question: how can we bring enough fresh air into our buildings not just to meet minimum ventilation rates for school facilities, but to move enough air to reach all the spaces in the school?

The improved and new HVAC systems are capable of handling substantial air flow. They are also “smart” in allowing District staff to continually monitor air quality with electronic controls, push fresh air where it’s needed and prevent the build up from harmful things like carbon dioxide.

Filtration

Proper filtration is critical to removing harmful particles, compounds, organic materials and containments. As part of its Bond program, the District decided to install MERV 13 filters in all of its facilities, the highest level filtration available for commercial HVAC equipment.

The District is taking it a step further: this winter all of the upgraded and new HVAC systems will be upgraded further to use electrostatic filters, which use an electrical charge to increase contaminant removal efficiency. These filters have been tested to remove 99% of particles from 3 to 10 microns, 98% of particles from 1 to 3 microns, 97% of fine particles (0.3 to 1 micron), 40% of ultrafine particles (less than 0.3 microns), and additionally some volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Schools that will receive new electrostatic filtration systems by January 2022 include:

  • Jewett ES
  • Mae Richardson ES
  • Patrick ES
  • Sams Valley ES
  • Central Point ES