Get the facts about air quality in schools

Published on: 
27 Oct 2021
Anisa Heming

Photo credit: Gorodenkoff from Adobe Stock.

The Center for Green Schools at USGBC has released a unique series of fact sheets about indoor air quality (IAQ), designed to help people without a technical background understand some of the more complicated details. While important public health measures are debated in schools across the country, indoor air quality measures offer a noncontroversial way to take concrete action to increase protection for everyone in school.

We’ve heard from teachers, parents, school board members and others about the confusing messages they’re getting, so we brought together dozens of experts to create simple, straightforward resources about the most pressing topics.

The series includes an overview, as well as four specific fact sheets on ventilation, HVAC filtration, in-room air cleaners and germicidal UV. More fact sheets are on their way and will be added to the series over the next month.

  • Overview: Build a foundation by understanding your HVAC system, if you have one, and which IAQ strategies might work for your classrooms. What do we know about airborne transmission of COVID-19? How can we use a combination of strategies to get to a healthier environment?
  • Ventilation: Get a better understanding of the interaction between ventilation and other strategies and how to use what you have to get healthier classrooms. Are windows really good enough for COVID-19 prevention? What’s the best use of CO2 data, if you have a monitor?
  • HVAC filtration: Get the facts about how filters work and their actual effectiveness in preventing the spread of COVID-19. Aren’t viruses too small to be caught in filters? What if your HVAC system can’t handle a MERV 13 filter?
  • In-room air cleaners: Sort out the noise about when to use an in-room air cleaner and how to choose one that works for your classrooms. Do they really work, or is it "pandemic theater"? What features does the air cleaner need to have to work for COVID-19 prevention?
  • Germicidal UV (GUV, or UVGI): Understand the three most common types of UVGI systems and what to know about using them in schools. Are they safe to use? Is there any evidence that they work? What types of systems should you consider and when?

Share the fact sheets with your friends, neighbors, coworkers and clients so that everyone has a better grasp of how to protect teachers and students at school this year.

Download the fact sheets