Following complaints from NYC public school teachers about uncomfortably chilly temperatures in some classrooms, the city Department of Education has put forth a plan intended to keep classrooms warm even when windows must remain open to slow the spread of COVID-19. The plan will include air purifiers, space heaters, and filters to ensure proper airflow, in addition to keeping windows open in rooms with poor ventilation.
The approach will vary depending on the needs of each school, according to a three-page memo drafted by the DOE and obtained by Gothamist. The plan states that 13,700 more MERV-13 filters will be ordered and installed in school HVAC systems to help keep the virus out of the air in classrooms. These filters — adding to an already existing supply — are ordered in accordance with guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends high-quality filters to combat COVID-19.
The remaining HVAC filters are scheduled to arrive between mid-November and mid-January, 2021. More filter deliveries will come weekly, which the DOE says “will allow all buildings to have at least one complete filter set installed.”
The city is also ordering another 20,000 HEPA-rated air purifier units for schools, adding to the 10,000 it already ordered for the start of in-person learning. Those new air purifiers will be prioritized to classrooms with “limited windows and no mechanical ventilation,” inoperable windows, and with no windows at all.