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Opinion: Schools should improve ventilation to improve student’s health and the learning environment

Opinion: Schools should improve ventilation to improve student’s health and the learning environment

Opinion: Schools should improve ventilation to improve student health and the learning environment
By Kaleb Crelemons

The federal infrastructure billIt is historic, it is not doubt. However, an opportunity was lost by excluding funding to school infrastructure. 

The physical condition of schools can have a direct effect on student achievement and health. However, many Texas schools are not suitable for schooling in the age COVID-19. After four months of learning in-person, you are now a COVID-19 is now available in a new versionIt is up to the state and district leaders, to quickly improve school buildings.

Kaleb Cllemons

The pandemic has highlighted how critical it is for schools to be in good physical condition, especially their schools. Ventilation systemsCOVID-19, a COB-borne disease, can be carried with us for many years. To ensure that students feel safe in school classrooms, it is important to make improvements to school buildings.

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The problem is apparent, and the solution is obvious Improved ventilation, is equally easily recognizable. Nearly $2.5 billion has been donated by the federal government. $190 billionCOVID-19 recovery funding to local and state governments. This is the perfect way to upgrade school buildings with a one-time influx of funds.

A ReportJohns Hopkins University discovered that approximately 54% US public-school districts required improvements to their mechanical systems. These improvements were not made before the return to in person learning. Students who are not properly ventilated, whether they are wearing masks or not, can share potentially fatal air particles with school personnel and their peers.  

According to a ventilation, StudyResearch by Harvards Chan School for Public Health has shown that classrooms are at greater risk of COVID. You can do this by opening doors and windows, using portable air cleaners, or installing mechanical ventilation systems. This last option is the best but also the most costly. Some school buildings don’t have windows that can open, while others do not have any windows at all.

Poor ventilation can have serious consequences for students’ academic performance. The Center for Green SchoolsResearch has shown that students are more efficient when there is fresh air in the classroom. Study also found that students with poor ventilation are more likely to get sick. Student sickness can lead to school cancellations. Missing school can lead to lower grades. EvidenceThe Environmental Protection Agency has shown that higher ventilation rates are associated with higher test scores in maths and reading.

Schools seeking funding for school improvements do not have to rely solely on federal funding. Building projects are generally funded by bonds that have been voted on by the public. Fort Worth ISD recently passed a $1.5 billion bondThis money will be used in several projects throughout the district. Conversely, San Antonio districts saw Mixed results in different bond elections this year. Bonds are an option for school improvement but can be costly and time-consuming. Districts have money and must invest in building ventilation immediately.

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Focus on making sure fresh air is being circulated into each space when federal funds are used for building improvements. This may mean that existing ventilation systems need to be installed or renovated completely. If a complete renovation of ventilation systems is not possible, Districts have decided that portable air cleaners will be installed in every classroom.. Another solution is to upgrade windows to make sure they open easily and allow fresh, clean air to flow in.

In-person learning is useless if students get sick and are unable to attend class for several days. This is true regardless if you have a vaccine or a mask. Regardless of the pandemic, students are protected from all types of airborne illness by proper ventilation. This is not just an opportunity to improve the existing situation but also an investment into the long-term health and well-being for students.

Kaleb Clemons studies Education Policy and Planning at The University of Texas at Austin.

Cover illustration courtesy U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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