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February 12, 2021

Omni CleanAir Statement on CDC School Opening Guidelines

Paul de la Port, President, Omni CleanAir

“We applaud the CDC for their school reopening guidelines and President Biden’s support to get students back into the classroom. While certainly a step in the right direction, we believe the plan doesn’t do enough to clearly explain exactly when, where, and how to actually improve ventilation.    

“Over the past 10 months, the global scientific community has learned much more about how the virus spreads – it’s airborne. One of the biggest weapons against an airborne contagion like COVID-19, is well ventilated indoor environments. Yet, the new CDC guidelines don’t define what proper ventilation is or adequately specify how to achieve it. For example, what if opening windows and doors isn’t possible because of the weather or it’s an interior room?  

“We wholeheartedly agree that PPE and administrative controls form part of a holistic, multi-pronged approach to risk mitigation. However, tactics such as hand washing, masks and social distancing, while relatively inexpensive to implement, are less reliable.  Why?  Because people, and particularly younger students, are unpredictable. Engineering controls like ventilation and filtration, must receive more emphasis and importance because machines won’t get sloppy, become distracted, or ignore the guidelines.

“We urge decision makers, administrators, and government officials to act quickly. Portable HEPA air filtration systems are one of the most affordable, effective, and easiest options to achieve proper ventilation in classrooms and schools across the country, including in traditionally underserved communities. Portable HEPA should feature more prominently in the guidelines for safely reopening schools.”

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