The Dysart Unified School District recently installed 2,700 air scrubbers to improve air quality for the nearly 24,000 students and 3,000 staff that returned to Dysart’s 26 schools this month.
“The health and safety of our students, staff and community is something we take very seriously, and installing air scrubbers district wide was a big step in ensuring healthy air quality,” said Superintendent Dr. Quinn Kellis. “We are proud to be leading the way with improving the quality of the air in our school environments with this helpful tool.”
The technical name for the devices are Needlepoint Bi-Polar Ionization systems, but they are more commonly referred to as air scrubbers.
The NBPI systems attach directly to the Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning system and produce positive and negative ions that travel with the supply of air into the building. These ions form bonds with suspended particles that are in the air, such as pollutants, dust, pollen and pathogens like mold, viruses and bacteria.
This causes them to stick together, and allows the HVAC system to filter the particles, which would have been too small to catch otherwise. Studies have shown that having a higher ion concentration, as is created with the NBPI systems, can help inactivate most virus particles, including COVID-19, both in the air and on surfaces.
The air scrubbers were installed over the summer at all Dysart Schools facilities, including 26 school sites as well as the district support services and district office buildings by Midstate Energy.
The 2,700 devices cost a total of $2.875 million to buy and install, and were purchased through Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) COVID funds that Dysart Schools received.
In addition to the air scrubber installations, Dysart has taken additional steps to further improve indoor air quality. This includes purging the air each morning, bringing in fresh outside air throughout the day, and monitoring the air intake through automated systems.
Dysart is ensuring air filters are changed at regular intervals, and each campus has a sanitizing wand to spray surfaces with. Personal Protective Equipment such as face coverings and cleaning supplies continue to be readily available at all sites, and hand washing and good hygiene are always encouraged.