COVID-19 is an airborne infection. The concern with its ability to transfer from one area to the next after a person coughs or sneezes and releases particulates into the air is exactly what sparked Michigan schools to examine their HVAC systems. Michigan schools wanted to know just how much of a risk their ventilation ducts presented in air quality and the spread of the virus.
What exactly was or is the risk? Can Michigan schools reopen safely with their HVAC systems as they are? What can be done to improve this situation? These were all valid concerns and questions that the state school board sought to answer.
All Ducts Connect, Presenting a Potential Danger With Airborne Diseases
A lot of the schools in Michigan were constructed decades ago. As such, there wasn't enough science or a public health concern that led to HVAC engineering and design advancements. Ergo, many of the heating and cooling ducts in most of these schools are all connected and heated air and cooled air all flow freely through the ducts into adjacent classrooms.
When you add in the risk of COVID-19 spreading through these ducts, it becomes a nightmare. The virus can travel through the ducts from classroom to classroom unchecked and unfiltered. An obvious overhaul of the ducts needed to be completed if students are going to return to Michigan schools in person next year.
The Intended Plan to Remedy This Situation
The intended plan to remedy this situation is to take extra school funds that have been approved for HVAC upgrades. A survey by HVAC professionals may also lead to additional funds from different sources to help complete this huge project and provide safe, breathable air for students, staff, and teachers. As of right now, several schools are slated for these updates so that some of the hundreds of thousands of students and tens of thousands of teachers in the state of Michigan can return safely to public school instruction in person.
Schools in high-risk areas of Michigan may see improvements first. The challenge is to provide ventilation and filtration updates to these areas to reduce the overall challenges these students and teachers already face. Then other schools, including charter and private schools, may be able to receive funding to fix their air ducts and purify their indoor air and improve circulation.
What This Means for Heating, Air Conditioning and Ventilation Professionals in Michigan
With a surge of school districts looking to make the schools safer and improve their air purification systems, professionals that manage, install and repair these systems will be in high demand. They will find a lot of work available to them, with readily available funds to pay for upgrades. If you are a commercial HVAC contractor working in this field, you should look for the bidding wars for these particular contracts. They may be closing bidding soon, so it's important to get your bid in on the projects that are still available and projects you want to do.