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Kyrene School District buys air filters for classrooms to battle coronavirus

(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX — The Kyrene School District is purchasing air filtration systems for every classroom to provide an additional layer of safety as some students prepare to return to in-person instruction amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The district, which covers all of Ahwatukee and parts of Chandler, Tempe, Guadalupe and the Gila River Indian Reservation, approved the purchase of high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters at its Aug. 25 board meeting.

The filters will be installed before Sept. 17 when the first students will be back in the classroom, according to a press release on Tuesday.

The district will cover the over $442,000 cost of the units by allocating bond funds.

“This purchase is possible thanks to voters who reauthorized the Bond in 2017,” Chris Herrmann, chief financial officer for the district, said in the release.

“Kyrene is grateful to have the support of voters in Tempe, Phoenix, Chandler and other communities within our boundaries.”

The district selected the Bissell air400 Air Purifier, which is capable of capturing 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micron or smaller, according to the release, and can recirculate air in Kyrene’s standard classroom size of 1,000 square feet.

It was mentioned in the board meeting that the filters refresh the entire classroom every 35 minutes.

A study done by NASA found air filters similar to the brand the district is using are efficient at capturing particles the size of the virus that causes COVID-19.

However, air filtration systems don’t provide complete protection since it is believed COVID-19 spreads from person to person when droplets are released by coughing or sneezing.

In an attempt to increase health safety in the classroom, the district is also requiring students and teachers to wear masks both indoors and outdoors unless doing physical activities or while eating or drinking.

The district has also implemented additional safety measures like reducing class sizes, practicing social distancing and requiring students to wash their hands or use hand sanitizer entering the school, after being outside and prior to leaving for home.

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