Building Ventilation

  • Using CDC guidelines, Norfolk Public Schools (NPS) developed a plan to evaluate fresh air ventilation in each school’s classrooms. As part of this process, NPS consulted with the architects and engineers involved with designing the school division’s newest facilities along with members of the NPS Facilities team to include the safety and health specialist, senior director of facilities, and the senior coordinator and technicians for Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC). These collaborative efforts focused on fresh air ventilation by determining whether the HVAC unit supplying conditioned air to the classrooms has a mechanical damper to provide 20% fresh air into the conditioned air cycles. NPS also reviewed classrooms to ensure windows operated correctly. If the room did not have a damper to provide fresh air into the conditioned air cycle or an operating window, an Ionopure Purity Sanitizing Humidifier was assigned to that classroom. These humidifiers efficiently sanitize up to 5,000 square feet and use a chemical agent that kills virus strains including SARS-CoV-2. NPS has installed Hepa Air Purifiers in the clinics located in each school. While the sanitizing humidifiers are not a CDC requirement when an operating window is available in a classroom, NPS chose to install them in classrooms that did not provide fresh air ventilation through their HVAC unit. Adding the sanitizing humidifiers also allows the school division to keep the windows closed, if needed, while providing an extra layer of mitigation strategies.

    Norfolk Public Schools has also implemented the CDC guidelines for layered strategies to reduce exposures to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes using multiple mitigation strategies with several layers of safeguards to reduce the spread of disease and lower the risk of exposure. In addition to the aforementioned ventilation review, NPS’s layered approach includes practicing social distancing, wearing face masks, and encouraging proper hand hygiene.

    Building and classroom readiness was determined using the CDC guidelines below:

    · Ensured ventilation systems are operating properly.

    · Increased outside air flowrates where possible.

    · Turned off Demand Control Ventilation features

    · Increased filtration efficiency if possible

    · Inspected local exhaust systems, such as kitchen hoods.

    · Used upper room Ultraviolet Germicidal Lights (or other products) and/or local HEPA filtration where ventilation was poor.

    The outcomes of the NPS ventilation review for the 49 schools currently operated within the school division are below (clicking on the name of the school will reveal the detail of the fresh air ventilation review):

    Column 2: Represents the classroom number.

    Column 3: Identifies whether the HVAC unit provides fresh air ventilation into the conditioned air cycles.

    Column 4: Identifies if the room has windows that allow fresh air into the classroom.

    Column 5: Identifies if a Sanitizing Humidifier has been installed.

    Column 6: Identifies if a room is ready for occupancy as determined by CDC guidelines.

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