The general idea is to make rooms as close to a clean, outside environment as practical.
The District has increased the mechanical ventilation to rooms, by increasing the opening of the outside air intake dampers on HVAC equipment. This allows more outside air to be introduced into rooms thereby increasing the percentage of fresh air in the room at any given time. This has the effect of diluting any virus concentration that may happen to be in the room. Although these measures make for much safer, healthier air quality, it does have the downside of decreasing energy efficiency and to some extent decreasing comfort. This is because outside air is non-conditioned air. On hot days for example it will lower the efficiency of the air conditioner as more volume of hotter, outside air comes into your classroom. On cold days it will lower the efficiency of the heaters as colder, outside air is introduced into classrooms. This decrease in efficiency and comfort will be most noticed on very hot or very cold days. We have opted for safety over 100 % comfort.
With similar reasoning we’ve set the fan that pumps outside air into rooms, to run continuously while the room is occupied. This is already the case in most rooms. This also has the down sides mentioned above. Again, we have opted for safety and this will probably only be apparent on very hot or very cold days.
We also strongly recommend, as weather permits, keeping all outside facing windows open, and doors open.
Increase HVAC filtration:
We have upgraded the filter in every HVAC unit in the District. We have gone from a MERV 8 to a MERV 13 filter. MERV 13 gives the greatest filtration possible on our existing HVAC units, and is basically a “Hospital Grade” filter. Filters are changed 3 times per year: Fall just before school opens, Winter Break, and Spring Break. More often if needed.
HVAC Unit Inspection:
Every HVAC unit in the District has been inspected for cleanliness and proper operation. M & O will continue to monitor filters and equipment on a regular basis.