All classrooms to have 2 air purifiers next year, New York City officials pledge
To help curb the spread of COVID, all 56,000 New York City public school classrooms will be equipped with two air purifiers by September, according to the education department.
Already, the department has distributed 100,000 air purifiers to schools, and they are working to ensure each classroom has two air purifiers by the time schools fully reopen this fall. The air purifiers are high-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, which lower the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Ventilation has emerged as one of the most critical COVID prevention strategies, and HEPA filters are among the most efficient at capturing human-generated viral particles, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This past school-year, New York City public schools had less than a 1% COVID positivity rate based on the on-site testing of students and staff, the education department said. But that low rate was in part made possible by having a limited number of students and educators on campus: about 60% of students were in school remotely, and 28% of teachers had medical accommodations to work from home. A full return to classrooms in September means less space for social distancing and with that, a need for an even more comprehensive safety plan.
The education department says they have high standards in place to ensure students will be safe next year.
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