Over the last few months, Cx Associates has helped a number of schools throughout Vermont test their ventilation rates. As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, providing adequate ventilation rates is an important part of providing good indoor air quality (IAQ), both during the pandemic and normal times. While most buildings were designed to meet a ventilation standard, there are numerous reasons why rooms may not meet the current ventilation recommendations. In most buildings, measuring airflow is really the only way to know that you meet the recommendation.
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The prospect of reopening schools under the new CDC guidelines in response to COVID-19 can be overwhelming for facilities and administrative personnel. In addition to increased surface cleaning, hand washing, maintaining six feet between classroom desks, and wearing face masks, the schools are faced with making decisions on how to best operate their HVAC equipment. As much as the world is trying to help them with these decisions, the HVAC guidelines from the CDC and ASHRAE are all encompassing; it is difficult to identify which measures are applicable and even more difficult to prioritize the measures under a school’s constrained budget. This may overburden an already burdened school facilitator.
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As we are all learning to adjust to life with COVID-19, many areas are considering re-opening schools for the coming school year. Although many teachers are finally starting to unwind into a stranger-than-usual summer break, now is the ideal time to get a jump on adjustments to school operations to make in-person education as safe as possible for students, faculty and staff alike.