US Department Of Education's Expanded ESSER Program Could Pave The Way For Air Quality Upgrades In Schools

US Department Of Education's Expanded ESSER Program Could Pave The Way For Air Quality Upgrades In Schools

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The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund (ESSER) is a pandemic-era funding initiative set by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) to help schools across the country make repairs and prepare to improve the health and safety of students returning to the classroom.

Launched in March 2020 with a budget of $13.2 billion, Congress added another $54.3 billion by December of that same year. In 2021, the program expanded by an additional $112 billion. As funds get distributed, some public health advocates are calling for schools to focus on supporting air-quality upgrades as air purification is reportedly one of the most high-impact, cost-effective means of curbing future outbreaks, improving overall student health, and even possibly improving students’ academic performance.

Why Some Public Health Advocates Call For ESSER Funds To Be Invested In Indoor Air Quality Improvements

Air quality in classrooms has been reported as a chronic health issue since long before the pandemic, but COVID may have helped bring it to the forefront of school administrators’ minds. Poor ventilation and lack of effective filtration meant that hazardous particles — ranging from mold spores to viruses — could build up and remain inside classrooms. With lingering COVID particles, for example, the risk of infection and illness can end up being high, even when mask mandates are strictly followed.

A study from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention of 169 elementary schools across Georgia found that schools that invested in a combination of better ventilation and filtration methods in their classrooms saw a 48% drop in COVID-19 cases. 

The impact of ventilation and filtration goes beyond COVID-19. The consequences of breathing in hazardous particles on a daily basis range from chronic health problems to lower academic performance.

A recent report from Harvard’s School for Public Health found that approximately 25 million children (or 50% of students) go to schools that lack indoor air quality management plans. 

Possibly as a result of, or impacted  by, so many schools falling short of basic air quality standards, nearly 1 in 13 children in the country suffer from asthma, a condition that has become a leading cause for missing school.

Researchers in that same Harvard report estimated that for every one liter per second increase in ventilation, standardized test scores increased by 2.9% for math and 2.7% for reading. 

A similar case may hold true for adults, as a recent study sponsored by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. JLL, Lendlease and Skanska AB SKBSY found that improving indoor air quality leads to productivity boosts as high as 11% in workplaces. As such, indoor air quality is becoming a focus across the country with ventilation and filtration being the key drivers behind generating those health and performance benefits.

SinglePoint Inc. Says Its BOX Pure Air Helps Schools Make Cost-Effective Air-Quality Upgrades

As schools shift their focus toward improving air quality, they’re reportedly looking to prioritize solutions that are both cost-effective and quick to implement, so students can start reaping the benefits of cleaner air as soon as possible. 

In January, for example, SinglePoint Inc. SING subsidiary, BOX Pure Air, received a $2 million purchase order from a North Carolina school district to implement AIRBOX purifiers in approximately 25 schools. The order included a mix of the three different unit sizes BOX Pure Air offers for a fully customized air purification system in each school.  

The air purification systems BOX Pure Air offers include a 1,500-square-foot HEPA filtration system that the company reports is large enough to handle gyms, cafeterias and other larger high-traffic areas where schools might normally have to piece together up to five smaller classroom-size units to achieve the same level of filtration. 

It also provides smaller sizes, including portable options, that work for classrooms, administrative offices and other indoor spaces. All unit sizes are very portable. Even the largest one is on wheels and can be easily relocated  to optimal areas or “hotspots” to ensure maximum effectiveness.

As the expanded ESSER funds roll out, BOX Pure Air says it wants to continue to partner with schools nationwide looking to renovate and improve indoor air quality for the health and academic benefit of their students.

This post contains sponsored advertising content. This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be investing advice.

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