Air purification has been around for many years, however, it’s not widely used in the UK, especially air purifiers in schools and around children. This may sound strange bearing in mind the pandemic and the need to mitigate the spread of airborne viruses in schools. A reason for this could be that other air devices like air conditioners and humidifiers are not commonplace in the UK, so we’re not as exposed to air technology. Our climate doesn’t see the extreme conditions from hot or cold weather, so the need for these air devices has previously been seen as more of an optional luxury.
What effect does indoor air quality have on children?
The pandemic has placed a spotlight on indoor air quality and research, highlighting the need for action to be taken to improve health and wellbeing. Regarding children, ongoing research is showing that there’s an even greater concern. Compared to adults, their developing minds and bodies are exposed to more harmful airborne particles as children and young adults have higher breathing rates. Some of these are fine inhalable particles known as PM2.5. These are small enough to penetrate deep into their lungs and enter the blood stream. This can affect organ development, contribute to asthma, along with having a detrimental impact on their ability to learn and more.
The average UK classroom
Classrooms in the UK normally have around 30 children in a relatively confined space. It’s been highlighted that some school classrooms suffer from poor ventilation with windows sealed shut. In other cases, the windows are not able to open sufficiently for the size of room, or they’re not in the correct location to provide adequate air flow.
With so many children in one room, CO2 can increase to worrying levels. Mixed with pollution from nearby traffic, chemicals from cleaning, VOCs, viruses, mould spores and more. The air can become a cocktail of aerosols that could unknowingly become harmful to children’s health and learning.
Would you work with 30 others in one room?
How many times in an office have you felt lethargic, had a headache, or said to yourself or colleagues “you need some fresh air”? This is potentially caused by a build-up of aerosols trapped in the room creating this unwell feeling.
Imagine 30 adults all in one office that’s about the size of an average classroom with poor or no ventilation. For 8 hours, you’ll be sharing the indoor air that could be compromised by viruses, chemicals, CO2 to name a few. How do you think you’ll be feeling now? Now think of the 30+ children who are in this environment 5 days a week. Oh, and don’t forget children and young adults have higher rates of breathing.
Do you remember your school days?
I have children of my own at Junior school and when visiting the school for Parents Evening, it amazes me that those same experiences from when I was their age haven’t changed. Bearing in mind I was in Juniors in the mid-80s, you would think in all this time, some things would have been addressed. The classrooms still have the same sort of smell (not nice ones) and that’s without the children in there. The air feels close and unpleasant. It’s blatantly obvious the rooms benefit from very little ventilation.
I remember when I was a child having the lethargic feeling all too often. One teacher even sent us out of the classroom to run around the playground if he saw anyone yawning. His theory was that you don’t have enough oxygen feeding the brain and the run would get fresh air in and wake us up. In a way, he was probably right.
Ignorance is not bliss
It’s all too easy to ignore what we’ve subconsciously known for years – that indoor air quality is poor and isn’t good for us. Now we have evidence that clearly shows a correlation that poor indoor air is harming children’s learning and development. Coupled with the risk of spreading viruses, the time has finally come to address these issues and make classrooms a better, healthier place to learn.
Identifying poor indoor air quality
Some schools have begun introducing CO2 monitors to find out when the indoor air is of poor quality. The Teachers Union NASUWT offers advice in the use of CO2 monitors. Not only will it warn teachers to react by opening windows and doors or even allow the children to get some fresh air. It’s also helps teachers to understand if there’s ventilation issue in certain classrooms. Where this is identified, introducing air purifiers in schools and classrooms will help to improve the indoor environment and reduce the risk of viruses spreading.
What can schools do to improve air quality?
Across the US, the CDC and government has encouraged the use of air purifiers in schools to limit the spread of viruses and improve the air quality. In the UK, a teacher union has called for the government to take similar actions and headteachers have backed a government scientific advisor for air purifiers to be introduced in UK classrooms.
In Philadelphia, the entire state has introduced ActivePure air and surface purifiers into every classroom – that’s over 200 buildings. They’ve recognised the need to mitigate the spread of viruses and improve the classroom air quality by using air purifiers.
It’s not just Philadelphia either, Chaminade University in Hawaii is another example where ActivePure Technology air and surface purifiers is being used throughout their classrooms. Allison Jerome, Vice President for Student Affairs said “Their primary reason for being here is learning. We want to keep them safe while they’re in the classroom.”
And the list goes on…
- Agape Montessori Christian Academy
- Berlin Middle & High Schools
- Bishop Guertin High School
- Bright & Early Children’s Learning Centers
- Coronado Prep Preschool
- Costenbader’s Driving School
- Courthouse Academy Preschool & Elementary Schools
- Cresthill Academy
- Deptford Township Education District
- El Colegio San Ignacio Jesuit as de Oviedo
- Everett Public Schools
- Forrest Ward Memorial School
- Harleton ISD
- Hershorin Schiff Community Day School
- Key School
- Lafayette Christian School
- Schuylkill Intermediate Unit 29
- Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine
- Piapot School District
- Pine View School
- Plymouth Public Schools
- Primrose Schools
- Regis Catholic Schools
- Saint Joseph High School
- Sarasota School of Massage Therapy
- Saugus Public Schools
- Schuylkill Haven Area School District Elementary, Middle and High Schools
- Springbrook Middle School
- George’s School
- Joseph Catholic Church & School
- Joseph Center for Special Learning
- The Lamplighter School
- Toms River Regional Schools
- Triton Public School
- Troup County School System Schools
- Ursuline Academy
- Willow Park School
- Wind ‘n Willow Preschool Learning Center
- And hundreds more
Is your school considering air purifiers?
Many UK schools are considering introducing air purifiers for the start of the new term in September. We appreciate introducing new technology in schools around young children must come with the reassurance that you’re doing the right thing and it’s safe. Therefore, we’ve provided a list of 10 questions you should ask about the air purifiers you’re considering.
If you’d like to know more about ActivePure Technology air and surface for schools and classrooms visit our dedicated page https://www.activepure.uk.com/education/. Or please feel free to contact our team: