When Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School principal Scarlett Dunne, Ph.D., noticed that students were frequently sick, she knew she had to do something to reverse absenteeism.
“We’ve had concerns with allergens in our building, as well as mold and mildew,” she said. We also have quite a few children in our building who have asthma—that’s what prompted us to look at air quality and begin to have a conversation with our plant services department.”
Ted Gilbert, associate superintendent for district services for the Clarke County School District, where Oglethorpe resides, understood there was a correlation between student illness and indoor air quality.
“How do we help and not hinder what’s going on in the classroom?” he said. “(Air quality) is one serious component. How do we bring a really fine environment to students in the classroom? When we do that, we know we enhance attendance, student achievement and the overall classroom experience. Indoor air quality is very, very important…I think anything we can do to remove particulates from the air and give our students and staff cleaner, fresher air is the best.”
To that end, Kimberly Thomas, executive director for plant services and custodial operations for the Clarke County School District spearheaded a pilot program with AeraMax Professional after completing a comprehensive air quality assessment.
In a pilot program, the school district installed AeraMax® Professional commercial air purifiers in selected classrooms at Oglethorpe. Since AeraMax Professional air purifiers remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants like germs, allergens, odors and viruses from indoor air, the facility team was confident that air quality would be quickly improved…and it did.
“Within the first week of installation, we could tell a difference in the rooms,” Dunne said. “There was a noticeable change. It smelled much fresher and we could see a difference in (the amount of) coughing and sneezing.”Teachers also noticed a difference, saying that students seemed more energized throughout the day.
An added benefit: “Not only did the parents and teachers recognize an immediate difference in fresher smelling air, but it also made it easier for our staff to clean those areas,” Thomas said. “We didn’t see the same level of dust.”
The installation of the AeraMax Professional units was part of a larger green cleaning initiative undertaken by the school district. And, the facility management industry took notice, resulting in the Grand Award in the Healthy Schools Campaign’s 2015 Green Cleaning Award for Schools & Universities.