Health & State Leaders Weigh In On Air Quality In Schools

Friday, July 31st 2020, 7:32 am
By: Hunter McKee

With several students expected to be back at school within the next few week, some have expressed health concerns. 

One state representative said it's important for schools to maintain proper air quality to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He said one way of doing that is to provide updates to heat and air systems.

State Rep. John Waldron, D-Tulsa, said it's important to invest into our school buildings, especially during a time like this, and thinks some aren't properly equipped with the right systems.

"If we’re going to put 15, 20, or 25 kids in a room for an hour at a time, it sure would be nice to have windows that opened and HVAC systems that kept that air moving swiftly,” said Waldron. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is evidence that COVID-19 can remain airborne for longer times and further distance than originally thought. They said increasing ventilation with outdoor air and filtration can potentially help reduce airborne transmission. 

However, OU Medicine's chief COVID officer said he's more concerned about close contact than air quality.

"I think the risk from aerosol-based transmission is much less than just droplet transmission,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler. “That’s well established now.”

Bratzler said there are ways to improve the air quality in older buildings without revamping the entire system.