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Suite à la pandémie de COVID-19, la santé publique est devenue en enjeu majeur, particulièrement dans le secteur de l’éducation et pour l’apprentissage en présentiel.
At the start of the outbreak, educators, eager to provide a safe apprentissage environment, moved in-person instruction to a virtual format. Yet, after more than a year of online schooling, students and faculty are eager to return to the classroom.
College and university leaders acknowledge that in-person interaction with professors and other students is an important aspect of higher education. But returning to the classroom means moving students and educators inside, breathing the same air. And now, there’s the potential threat of COVID-19’s Delta variant generating a resurgence of infection.
Higher education professionals are responding to the challenge by implementing recommended strategies such as mask and vaccination adherence. They are also being advised to put critical focus on improving the once overlooked factor of indoor qualité de l’air if they are to protect the santé et sécurité of their students, faculty and staff.
At first, knowing how coronavirus was propagation, and what to do to mitigate infection, was unclear. People grasped for solutions. Hand sanitizers flew off the shelves and people spent their days scrubbing down surfaces.
We now have sound evidence, thanks to science, that the virus is most often propagation via particules en suspension dans l’air aérosols. When people sneeze, cough, or talk they expel particles that contain droplets and aérosols. transmission par voie aériennes are light and can drift and linger in the air for hours, particularly indoors, causing potential transmission of the coronavirus.
The Organisation Mondiale de la Santé (OMS) says hand sanitizing and surface cleaning does not offer enough protection in indoor spaces. So, improving indoor qualité de l’air to mitigate particules en suspension dans l’air infection in our institutes of higher education is of utmost concern. To be safe, indoor air requires purifying potential particules en suspension dans l’air contaminants.
The , les CDC américains (Centres pour le contrôle et la prévention des maladies) promotes a multi-layered approach. They say getting vaccinated and wearing a mask indoors in public can maximize your protection from COVID-19 and the Delta variant. They also support improving building ventilation as a critical component in reducing the propagation of disease and lowering the risk of exposure to COVID-19.
The U.S. Department of Enseignement has issued a rapport asserting that ”air pur is essential for living and apprentissage, and effective ventilation is an important part of COVID-19 prévention.” They noted that ventilation continues to be a topmost concern and that proper ventilation, with other mitigation measures, can reduce the possibility of propagationing disease.
So we know that improving ventilation and cleaning the air inside our academic infrastructures can enhance infectious disease resilience. Yet, many educators have found that doing so can be a challenge.
Poor ventilation in school buildings is quite prevalent, especially in older buildings. A rapport from the gouvernement Accountability Office in June 2020 determined that one-third of public schools are estimated to have inadequate heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
En Avril 2021,, la Commission COVID-19 du Lancet publiées a paper offering strategies and warnings for schools looking to improve their buildings ventilation and Nettoyage de l’air. According to the rapport, institutes of education are chronically under ventilated. They assert that most school buildings do not even meet the minimum standards set by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE).
Enseignement leaders have found that retrofitting their entire HVAC system is most often out of the question. The process can be complicated, lengthy, and the cost alone makes this choice untenable. The good news is fully integrated ventilation systems are not the only solution.
Des études have found that Portatif air purifiers that are properly designed can be incorporated with existing HVAC systems to create an optimal air change per hour. ASHRAE has judged that five to six air exchanges per hour are effective in a classroom of 1,000 square feet with an 8-foot ceiling. Compared to a complete retrofit, the cost savings of using Portatif air purifiers are significant and because installation is not required, their use can be implemented fast and with ease.
In July 2021, it was augmentation de 23% des cas de COVID-19 chez les élèves that, to help control the propagation of COVID-19, the education department would provide all 56,000 New York City public school Salles de classe with two air purifiers by September. This is a positive step and similar initiatives are under way in other states.
Yet, not every Portatif air purifier is up to the job. It’s important to choose a unit that will be effective. What type of Portatif air purifier do experts recommend?
Dans sa lettre ouverte, Dre Marwa Zaatari., Qualité de l’air intérieur expert and Member of the Board of Directors at U.S. Green Building conseil, advocates caution when specifying air purification devices. She focuses on the technologie behind the device. Dr. Zaatari endorses scientifically proven measures, including Portatif HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filter units with UVC (germicidal ultraviolet light) systems as efficient, practical, easy to implement, and not costly.
gouvernement programming has supported this recommendation. The American Rescue Plan (ARP), that allocated nearly $125 billion for education, homologué the purchase of Portatif filtration de l’air units, such as HEPA filtre à airs, to improve the indoor qualité de l’air of in-person instruction.
The Higher Enseignement Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF lll), authorized by the ARP, provided $39 billion to support institutions of higher apprentissage. A portion of funds awarded was designated to ”implement evidence-based practices to monitor and suppress coronavirus in accordance with public health guidelines.” Public health guidelines include the recommendations of the CDC, which clearly state in their Juin 2021 mise à jour that Portatif air purifiers with a Filtre HEPA and high-powered fan system are ”the preferred option for auxiliary Nettoyage de l’air.” The mise à jour also supports the use of germicidal UVC as a supplemental treatment to inactivate the coronavirus.
And in their October 2021 webinar, the Environnemental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Environnements Division discussed proven strategies that schools can implement to improve indoor qualité de l’air. They cited increasing taux de ventilations, using efficient Filtre HEPAs, and supplementing with Portatif air cleaners as critical for healthy air in the school environment.
Why are Filtration HEPA et de lumière UVC key components of an efficient and effective Portatif air purifier? To put it simply, Filtration HEPA captures COVID-19 and lumière UV-C kills it.
The CDC breaks down the science behind Filtre HEPAs: ”Most of the respiratory droplets and particles exhaled during talking, singing, breathing, and coughing are less than 5 micrometer (µm) in size. By definition, a Filtre HEPA is at least 99.97% efficient at capturing particles 0.3 µm in size. This 0.3 µm particle approximates the most penetrating particle size (MPPS) through the filter. Filtre HEPAs are even more efficient at capturing particles larger and smaller than the MPPS. Thus, Filtre HEPAs are no less than 99.97% efficient at capturing human-generated viral particles associated with SARS-CoV-2.”
The CDC also explains that germicidal UVC technologie uses ”ultraviolet (UV) energy to inactivate (kill) microorganisms, including viruses, when designed and installed correctly.”
When selecting a Portatif system, these experts also recommend choosing one that has a powerful fan and is appropriately sized for the area in which it will be used.
The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated how poor indoor qualité de l’air (IAQ) has a direct effect on our health. Sometimes the impact of poor IAQ can be subtle. It does not always produce such easily recognized symptoms as COVID-19. But if not attended to, poor IAQ will continue to be a threat to our well-being.
EPA de cas of human exposure to air pollutants reveal that indoor levels of pollutants may be two to five times, and occasionally more than 100 times, higher than outdoor levels. These levels of indoor air pollutants are of particular concern, because most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors.
In fact, EPA’s Science Advisory Board has ranked pollution de l’air intérieur as one of the top five environmental risks to public health. They have found that, ”good IAQ is an important component of a healthy indoor environment, and can help schools reach their primary goal of educating enfants.”
The Harvard Center for Health and the Global Environnement rapports that a major new study on the impact of green buildings showed that, with better qualité de l’air, cognitive scores were augmentation de 61% des scores cognitifs dans neuf domaines fonctionnels including crisis response, strategy, and focused activity level.
The EPA says, ”Healthy indoor qualité de l’air can promote a healthy apprentissage environment, reduce absentéisme, impact test scores and enhance student and staff productivity.”
Institutes of higher education would be wise to attend to their indoor qualité de l’air not only as a mitigating factor of COVID-19, but as an investment in the educational environment beyond the pandemic.
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