Erie County schools receive new COVID filtration systems | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children | #schools

The spread of COVID-19 in the classroom has been a concern for the community, especially for some parents, for some time now.

The Buffalo Public School District now has its first shipment of new Austin Air Filtration Units. The units are paid for through a federal grant.

“The Buffalo Public Schools are elated to be included in Erie County Executive Poloncarz’s initiative to place an air purifier machine in every classroom within Erie County,” said Buffalo City School District Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams. “Air purifier machines increase ventilation and add better filtration.  These particular air purifiers are high quality and have a charcoal filter that will remove toxic gases like a car exhaust or bus fumes that may enter a building during arrival and dismissal. The second stage of the filter unit contains a HEPA filter, which removes up to 99% of all pollen, bacteria, and viruses in the air. Ultimately, these air purifier machines will have a positive effect in ensuring proper air treatment of all occupied classrooms and will help our children breath in clean air.  The safety of our entire school community is our top priority!”

Erie County says more than 10,000 units have been ordered for every K-12 public and charter classroom in the county.

County Executive Mark Poloncarz says everything should be in place for the beginning the next school years.

“The COVID-19 pandemic burdened schools and families with incredible challenges and concerns over health and safety,” Poloncarz said. “The path of this pandemic and our response to it have shifted. Equipping our schools with Austin Air Healthmate Air Purifiers will help create a healthier school environment for k-12 students. This investment is a critical component of my back-on-track agenda to help our children recover from the damage caused by the pandemic.”

County leaders say many of the schools are old and have older air filtration systems.

“Maintaining improved ventilation in public indoor spaces is a core recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no matter what level of COVID-19 transmission a community is experiencing,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Staying home when ill, seeking testing as appropriate, wearing a mask as recommended, and getting vaccinated and boosted are other key parts of a comprehensive strategy to keep children and school staff healthy, and learning at school. This initiative will help keep the approximate 130,000 k-12 students and school staff in Erie County healthy by reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne contagions.”

Austin Air Systems says the units will last five years without maintenance.  

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