Air Purifiers in Schools

Dr. Moench, was interviewed on the issue of what would be required in order to open schools safely. It gave us another opportunity to raise awareness of the need to upgrade ventilation systems in schools, install high grade filtration, and air purifiers in all classrooms. Listen here.

New York University researchers found that scrubbing already “clean air,” by placing an inexpensive ($700), high performance room air purifier in each classroom, capable of reducing particulate pollution 90%, improved math and english test scores about 0.2 standard deviations, or about 5%. Think of an air purifier as a brain purifier.

They concluded that classroom air filters would provide greater education cost/benefit, in some cases far greater, than other interventions such as a 30% reduction in class size, “high dose tutoring,” increasing family income with an earned income tax credit, or the Head Start program. For a fraction of the cost of one new high school, every classroom in the state could be equipped with an effective air purifier.  

This becomes all the more important in the era of the coronavirus given that air purifiers can remove some of the virus in the air, including viruses attached to air pollution particles.

Utah school children and their teachers deserve everything we can do to protect them.