Congress passes over $120 Billion in Funding to Improve School Air Quality

The desire to mitigate the spread of Covid-19 as well as provide effective teaching to public school children has proved difficult over the course of the pandemic. In many areas, local passions have polarized the issue of safe schooling and left many local governments paralyzed, leading them to give up on the issue, and either abandon anti-Covid measures as politically infeasible or minimally effective.  

However, if a state or local government is looking to effectively protect school children while also avoiding the polarization of the more controversial Covid polices, there is a solution: improving ventilation and filtration. A bit mundane, yes, but there is a relatively large and increasing body of research that suggests that improving the air quality of a school can be a major tool in – among a slew of other health benefits- decreasing the spread of Covid-19.  

One study in Geogia during the pandemic found a 48% decrease in covid spread in schools that used improved ventilation strategies. Being exposed to air pollution for lengthy amounts of time can also heighten the risk posed by the Covid-19 virus itself, meaning poor ventilation in schools can be dangerous for staff and increase the school’s liability. 

And beyond Covid-19, better air quality in schools is linked to a number of beneficial effects, such as higher test scores and a decrease in the spread of other common illnesses like the common cold, flu, and respiratory syncytial viruses. In addition, growing evidence suggests that higher rates of  air pollution is linked to the mental health crisis, and thus better ventilation in schools could plausibly improve mental health of kids and teens.  

Recognizing the need, Congress has allocated more than $120 billion through the American Rescue Plan Act that can be used by schools to upgrade their ventilation systems and improve air quality. 

As such, upgrading a school’s air quality system will not only provide local authorities with an effective and non-polarized way to fight the spread of Covid –19, but will also act as a low-cost investment that will reap health and academic benefits for decades to come.  

Share This


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Posts

Brainstorm: Covid-19 Set Our Students Back, But Not Forever

Brainstorm: Covid-19 Set Our Students Back, But Not Forever

It’s not a secret that the Covid-19 pandemic hurt the educational opportunities of Americas schoolchildren. Studies suggest that remote learning led to little or even no academic progress for students even in ideal conditions. In the first year of online school alone,...

Congress Spends Big to Improve Mental Health

Congress Spends Big to Improve Mental Health

As a part of the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, congress has approved billions of new dollars for a variety of new initiatives to combat gun violence.  This is critical, as local governments face a stark reality when it comes to gun-related...