Tag Archives: education

The recent coronavirus pandemic has placed a spotlight on school safety and the reopening of classrooms across the United States; a mix of local mandates and orders have kept some kids home with virtual learning, while others have opted for in-person classes. Still, parents, school officials and community members are concerned about the health and welfare of children in classrooms.

And for good reason. Kids spend upwards of 1,000 hours in classrooms each year—and those classrooms often have poor indoor air quality, what with germs, viruses, odors and bacteria floating in stale, recirculated air. This air quality is one reason childhood asthma is on the rise: according to the Centers for Disease Control, asthma increased by 25 percent between 2001 and 2011, with an increase highest among Black children at more than a 50 percent jump. Indeed, 5.5 million children under the age of 18 are affected by asthma. And, according to the CDC, poor indoor air quality can trigger asthma events.

Kids in school wearing masks

Air needs to be a priority.

While wearing masks inside classrooms and school buildings can help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, wearing masks can’t solve the health concerns entirely. Instead, focusing on cleaning indoor air is a priority. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency believes improving indoor air quality can reduce absenteeism, boost performance and enhance test scores.

A key to improving indoor air lies in exploring the ventilation system and the ability to provide more air exchanges per hour. To this end, many schools can’t overhaul their existing HVAC systems, but can augment them with standalone units. According to Joshua Santarpia, a microbiologist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, air purifiers—like our own line of AeraMax Professional commercial grade units—could “dramatically reduce airborne contaminants.”

Public health experts advocate air filtration and ventilation

That sentiment is echoed by the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, which advocates for freestanding air filtration units to complement existing HVAC systems in schools to reduce airborne contaminants.

And while portable air purification units can augment the use of Personal Protective Equipment, like face masks and shields, there’s an added benefit: they help the overall cleaning process for schools, which typically focus on hand washing and surface cleaning.

Classroom with Aeramax Pro

School administrators see the benefits

That’s what Oglethorpe Avenue Elementary School in Athens, Georgia found out when it installed AeraMax Professional air purifiers in select classrooms. These commercial-grade four-stage filtration systems feature HEPA filters to effectively and efficiently remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants, like the flu, bacteria, germs, viruses, odors and volatile organic compounds, for classroom air.

“Within the first week of installation, we could tell a difference in the rooms,” Dr. Scarlett Dunne, principal at Oglethorpe, said. “There was a noticeable change…It smelled much fresher and we could see a difference in (the amount of) coughing and sneezing.” Facilities personnel also noticed less dust on surfaces, accelerating the nightly cleaning process.

Additionally, a survey conducted by administrators of teachers showed that the teachers also felt better. Likewise, anecdotal conversations with parents revealed that the parents noticed a difference in their children’s health.

So, AeraMax Professional can be an integral part in bringing about a new normal to classrooms, one involving more than just face masks and social distancing. Instead, this new normal will hinge on one thing: fresher air.

It didn’t look like a study in air pollution. It only took a few minutes, year after year after year. Once a year, select students in schools across southern California, were taken out of class, marched down to a gym or empty classroom and were met by a researcher. There, they were asked to blow into a spirometer, which measured lung capacity, and were asked a series of mundane questions about their living environment. Then they got their height and weight checked before heading back to class.

Little did they know the data collected from all those children—12,000 kids in all—created the framework for the most extensive study into the effects of air pollution.

Air Pollution effects growing lungs

The USC Children’s Health Study found that children living in the towns most effected by air pollution were five times as likely to have weakened lung capacity—20 percent weaker—than kids living in towns and cities where air pollution was less prevalent. That diminished lung capacity meant long-term health problems.

Air pollution affects growing bodies more than we may have realized.

What’s more, researchers found their original hypothesis was incorrect.

At the start of the study, they thought ozone, a component of the air pollution and thick smog that blankets southern California, would be a prime cause of stunted lung development in the children. However, they found there were a combination of tiny airborne pollutants—small as PM2.5—and nitrogen dioxide from car exhausts to blame also.


Long term implications & treatments

The study has had far-reaching implications on air pollution and has affected everything from manufacturing regulations to environmental policy. It also has created significant awareness regarding outdoor and indoor air quality. In fact, given that indoor air has been proven to be between two to five times more polluted than outdoor air, one might argue that concerns about indoor air quality should be even greater.

Luckily, there is a way to significantly decrease those concerns. The complete line of AeraMax Professional commercial-grade air purifiers can effectively and efficiently remove PM2.5 airborne pollutants—like germs, allergens, bacteria, viruses and volatile organic compounds—from enclosed spaces, drastically improving indoor air quality. The purifiers use a unique four-stage filtration system that traps these particles, removing 99.97 percent of pollutants from indoor air.

The AeraMax Professional purifiers employ patented EnviroSmart™ Technology that senses sound, motion and odors in a room, automatically adjusting to optimize performance. So, the units work only when required, conserving energy and maximizing operations while working in the background to improve the lives and health of occupants.

In recent years, scientists and health care professionals have focused more attention on the effects of poor indoor quality in a variety of settings. Two recent studies have turned the spotlight on an area that historically has been rife with germs, viruses and bad air: daycare centers.

Because daycare centers cater to children from infants to toddlers to pre-school-aged children, the chances of passing along germs and bacteria are relatively high.

The Finnish Study

So researchers in the city of Espoo, Finland—part of the metropolitan Helsinki area—looked at a random sample of 30 daycare centers to determine overall indoor air quality, gauging humidity, CO2 concentrations, temperature, airflow and other metrics.

In recent years, scientists and health care professionals have focused more attention on the effects of poor indoor quality in a variety of settings; two recent studies have turned the spotlight on an area that historically has been rife with germs, viruses and bad air: daycare centers.

If the air quality was already compromised, it would be made worse with the introduction of germs, viruses and bacteria. They took air samples during a one-day period and found air quality across the board was poor.

  • CO2 levels were charted beyond safe limits.
  • Older buildings not using newer HVAC systems experienced the worst levels.
  • Airflow was inadequate and temperature and humidity levels varied.

Children and staff were not well served, and air quality levels needed significant improvement. Surveys conducted with staff members cited unpleasant odors as the most prevalent perceptual problem.

The South Korean Study

But the bad air in childcare facilities is not isolated to Finland. A similar study was conducted by researchers in Seoul, Korea, where measurements were taken at 25 daycare centers. The researchers found high levels of the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene and styrene in the air. Their findings also showed significant levels of bacteria and mold, which was prevalent because of water damage to older centers and buildings. The study concluded that much more needed to be done to ensure healthier environments for children with still developing respiratory systems.

But what to do?

One answer lies in actually cleaning the air. AeraMax Professional air purifiers have been proven to effectively and efficiently remove contaminants from indoor air. Using a True HEPA hospital-type filtration system, AeraMax can rid the air of bacteria, VOCs, viruses, odors, germs and other irritants. It removes up to 99.97 percent of these pollutants from indoor air, sensing when the air needs to be clean automatically.

To see how AeraMax Professional helped childcare centers and nurseries, check out our case studies. Daycare facilities from France to Canada trust AeraMax Professional to make their facilities cleaner and healthier.


For students and their families, a campus visit can be one of the most important factors in choosing a school. After all, there’s a reason universities spend so much on awesome athletic centers, top-of-the-line health facilities and cozy student unions.

However, perceptions of a campus can be rapidly diminished by foul odors or widespread illness. Imagine touring a musty dorm or a bathroom that smelled moldy. People immediately associate these smells with a lack of health and cleanliness, which in turn translates to a negative perception.

For more concrete evidence, consider that in a 2015 survey Cascade Tissue Group found that 65 percent of participants somewhat or strongly agree restroom cleanliness helps shape perceptions of the quality of schools they have attended.

Since odors are one of the most common bathroom complaints, clean air is integral to building positive perceptions. While handwashing and clean surfaces visually make facilities appear clean, the air can be filled with germs, allergens and volatile organic compounds. It’s not just about what you see, it’s also about what you inhale.

Bathrooms are just one common area that requires attention to indoor air quality. Consider the high traffic of dorms, health centers and administrative offices. Since the flu and several other common illnesses are primarily spread through the air, it’s important to clean the air in these spaces.

Campus leaders can improve facility perceptions by directly targeting the toughest problem areas with integrated commercial-grade air purifiers.  These devices are ideal for removing contaminants from bathrooms, offices and other common areas, and visibly demonstrate a commitment to campus health and cleanliness. Allergy air purifiers not only improve indoor air quality, but also provide a healthier and cleaner learning environment for students and teachers. Such details can make all the difference on a campus tour, and, more importantly, benefit the students and faculty who are already committed to your institution.

Nearly 55 million Americans, primarily children, spend their days inside K-12 schools, according to The School Superintendents Association.

Remarkably, the organization also reports that nearly half the nation’s schools suffer from poor indoor air quality (IAQ).

How are facility managers tackling this issue and effectively targeting problem areas?

The state of indoor air quality in schools

Many schools across the nation have IAQ issues caused by a wide range of building conditions, including:

  • Poor ventilation
  • Lack of humidity control
  • Indoor and outdoor pesticides
  • Water damage
  • Airborne germs, pollen, volatile organic compounds and other particulate

In addition schools can quickly become hubs for spreading the influenza virus and other seasonal illnesses due to high traffic in shared spaces.

Absenteeism and academic performance

Poor IAQ can negatively affect academic focus on a day-to-day basis, while simultaneously contributing to increased absences and hurting long-term academic performance.

Polluted air can make learning environments uncomfortable for students and teachers by causing symptoms such as watery eyes, congestion, coughing, headaches, nausea and dizziness that detract from a student’s classroom focus. In time, this can lead to illnesses that cause unnecessary absenteeism.

IAQ-related issues are of particular concern for students with chronic breathing problems and severe allergies. For example, the Environmental Protection Agency has found that asthma-related illnesses account for more than 14 million missed school days each year.

When Hinsdale Middle School in Hinsdale, IL installed four AeraMax Professional units, it targeted similar issues. For example, one student was facing constant discomfort in the science lab where the student spent most of each school day. After the AeraMax Pro was placed in the classroom, the issue disappeared, to the relief of the student’s parents, as well as the middle school’s principal and facility manager.

Improving our students’ air

Creating healthy and safe learning environments for students, teachers and staff requires a robust approach to IAQ. An integral part of this process is removing germs and toxic particles from the air, specifically in bacteria hubs such as bathrooms, locker rooms and classrooms.

Schools need to address the problem at its source by:

  • Minimizing mold exposure and excess moisture
  • Eliminating the usage of toxic cleaning agents
  • Maintaining temperature and humidity at safe levels
  • Ensuring that all ventilation equipment is performing optimally
  • Implementing effective dusting, vacuuming and garbage disposal practices

That’s why schools like Hinsdale Middle School are installing commercial air purifiers to target problem areas. These systems ensure effective odor and germ removal and preserve a safe and clean learning environment for students, teachers and staff.