2020 is a unique year in numerous manners. COVID-19 has recalibrated not only aspects relating to the medical system but also many other spheres, among which education takes a special place. Now, varied instructional methods including virtual classrooms, regular temperature checks, medical face masks are a new reality. However, these measures are not enough to guarantee safety and they are not always comfortable to use. For example, face masks do not allow students to breathe and communicate freely. Besides, their effectiveness depends on the frequent change (once per 2 hours). Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems can solve these problems. This special equipment helps kids not only feel themselves in absolute comfort but also guarantees maximum health safety and protection against viruses.
Importance of Indoor Air Quality in Classrooms
Why is air conditioning a must in confined indoor spaces? There is a strong concern that viruses can be transmitted through the air and over long distances. It can have a huge impact on how modern public indoor spaces, such as schools, must function. In such circumstances, an efficient air conditioning system must be an integral part of any internal public space.
Is the right air conditioning system effective in reducing the spread of bacteria and viruses? Definitely yes. COVID-19 spreads mostly indoors. Most buildings in Canada are equipped with air ventilation equipment. If these systems do not operate properly, the air is not diluted effectively, COVID-19 could spread this way. So, the right air conditioning systems are extremely fruitful in decreasing the spread of bacteria and viruses.
How does improper ventilation and bad indoor air quality affect human health? Cough, eye irritation, headache, allergic reactions can appear even upon a short duration. In the long run, proper ventilation can save many lives preventing some respiratory diseases, heart disease and cancer.
Chronic illnesses. How proper ventilation can prevent them?
- Chronic fatigue
Scientific studies have proved that quality fresh air was key to a good general condition and productivity. People who work or live in buildings with a lack of ventilation frequently experience chronic headaches and constant fatigue.
- Dry skin
Overventilation can be as dangerous as not sufficient ventilating. Very often too conditioned environments make skin lose moisture and become dry.
- Chronic disease recurrence
Using ineffective air conditioning systems will contribute to your chronic disease recurrence. As mentioned before, cough, eye irritation, headache, allergic reactions are only the tip of an iceberg. “So what” attitude to the school indoor air quality can lead to such serious outcomes as cancer and COVID-19.
- Breathing problems
Here we are! Respiratory illnesses are among the most common and maybe the most dangerous health problems caused by improper indoor ventilation. Various ARVI types can be prevented just by utilizing optimal conditioning equipment. Moreover, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems are recommended to be installed in rooms occupied by asthmatics. The main difference between HVAC and conventional conditioning lies in HVAC “flexibility” – conditions are regulated with respect to temperature and humidity, using fresh air from outdoors. That is why such a system is the best option for offices, universities, and schools.
Air conditioning systems of Canadian school education units are equipped with differing filters. Spun fiberglass filters are the most common. The problem is they are considered to be the least effective (and the cheapest, of course). They have MERV of from 1 to 4. Disposable filters, also being used in schools, are made of pleated paper or polyester which provide increased surface area for filtering. But, they are not effective enough too (MERV of from 5 to 7). High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters filter fine particles of up to 0.3 microns and have a MERV of from 13+. HEPA filters remove up to 99.97% of the dust. They seem to be perfect to use in places occupied by kids.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Recommendations
To optimize the delivery of clean air in the school, one should consider ventilation system upgrades. Moreover, bear in mind that Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) professionals’ consultation is a must while modifying HVAC systems & equipment.
How HEPA will help to solve the problem with Covid-19?
HEPA filters, in fact, were designed to combat the tiniest dust, they capture microscopic particles that can easily pass through other filters. To meet the minimum requirements of a HEPA filter, it must be tested to prove that it will remove at least 99.97% of particles 0.3-microns in diameter, particles that have size 300 times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. That means that these filters can be extremely efficient in stopping harmful bacteria and viruses. By the way, HEPA filters do not use any chemical agents being “children-friendly” devices. It is a perfect match for schools and kindergartens. In addition, an entire system is quite portable and thus easy to install.
Of course, one should keep in mind that the system will be efficient to fight COVID-19 to the maximum only in case of utilizing it with means of personal protection such as medical face masks and frequent disinfection.
Sentry Air Systems: Pros and Cons
Sentry Air Systems is an innovative technology for individual indoor air ventilation offering a bunch of customized solutions to improve indoor air quality in schools. Due to the person-oriented principle of functioning, it can not only reduce the negative effects of pollen, allergens, smoke, mold spores, and other microorganisms but also provide supplemental support against virus transmission (such as SARS-CoV2 the virus that causes COVID-19). The systems use high-quality HEPA filters offering up to 99.97% efficiency on particles of 0.3 microns and ULPA filters that provide up to 99.9995% effectiveness on particles of 0.12 microns (SARS-CoV2 is 0.13 microns in size). What is interesting, Sentry Air Systems divides into two types: for direct individual use and for groups (mounted in the middle of the table usually divided into 4 separate sections). Both variations can be easily combined to optimize the learning process and save in-class communication from perplexing. The only disadvantage is that despite high reliability the system is still better to be utilized in combination with face masks and other means of personal health protection.