DISTRICT | November 4, 2020
With health and safety as our top priority, we’ve worked hard over the past few months to ensure that our school buildings are ready for students to return when it is safe for them to do so. This includes investing $8.5 million to purchase 20,000 HEPA air purifiers—one for every classroom in the district—as part of our commitment to go above and beyond to keep students and staff safe. These purifiers filter over 99.99 percent of airborne viruses, bacteria, and mold.
Following the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions five key mitigation strategies for COVID-19 transmission, the district cleaned tens of thousands of classrooms from top to bottom, installed signs throughout the building to help students and staff practice social distancing, purchased hand sanitizer stations and millions of reusable cloth face coverings for every student and staff member.
Our next step was to ensure that every classroom in the district has appropriate ventilation and clean air. The district completed a school-by-school ventilation assessment that assessed if each classroom within the school had:
- An operating mechanical ventilation system including both an air supply and exhaust; or
- At least one operating window and a HEPA air purifier, which the district is providing for all classrooms as part of an $8.5 million investment.
Based on the survey, over 99 percent of classrooms are ready for students and staff. Classrooms that are out of compliance will be prioritized for repair and taken out of service until repairs are complete.
The district also worked with a team of independent, state-certified environmental specialists to conduct an indoor air quality assessment and every school has been certified as ready to welcome students and staff back into the building. These hygienists analyzed four key metrics:
- Temperature: The thermal comfort range is between 68 °F and 76 °F.
- Relative Humidity: The indoor relative humidity value should be below approximately 65 percent.
- Carbon Monoxide (CO): CO readings should be below 9 parts per million.
- Airborne Particulate Matter (APM): APM readings should be below 0.150 milligrams per cubic meter.
You can find detailed information—including room-by-room ventilation reports and a full air quality report—for your child’s school online. Visit cps.edu/airquality to learn more.