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Indoor air quality becomes major priority in schools across Arkansas

The COVID-19 relief bill gives direct funding to schools and has a section allocated for HVAC systems, which means more schools can invest in better air flow.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — We've heard it time and time again -- Doctors, researchers and scientists reminding us that air conditioning can circulate infectious droplets of COVID-19.

Recently though, technology has been able to provide safer air quality inside schools.

RELATED: Top Arkansas health officials warn coronavirus pandemic is nowhere near over

It was back in May when we introduced technology being used to ensure the air around you is as safe as possible. 

Now months later, schools like Pulaski Academy believe this helped them stop the spread of COVID-19 and with funds from the relief bill on its way to schools in Arkansas, more may be able to jump on board. 

"Most of the cases we've had, or positive test results for COVID in our school, occurred in off-campus activities, so it doesn't seem to be spreading around the campus," Don Swanson said. 

As head of finance for Pulaski Academy, Swanson helped with the decision back in the summer, to make the investment and improve air quality across campus. 

"We felt like the safety of our students and faculty and staff had to be one of our top priorities going into the school year," he said.

According to Swanson, the school added bipolar ionization devices to each of their HVAC systems. These devices are made to attack dusts, allergens, and viruses like COVID-19.

"Masks are important, clearly, we require those but we wanted to go a step further," he said.

"It's not a solve-all; it's a whole puzzle you've got to put together," Drew McCurry said. 

McCurry is the Head of Commercial and Special Projects at Middleton Heat & Air. 

It's not all about adding air purification products, which helps bring in outdoor air and get rid of the still air inside. According to McCurry, it's also about maintenance and filtration.

"This virus travels airborne through droplets and things like that, and one of the best things you can do is control that airflow," he said.

McCurry believes, with the COVID-19 relief bill having specific funding towards schools for PPE and a section allocated to HVAC system upgrades and inspections, more schools may be able to control that flow. 

"This relief funding can really help schools be able to look around and see what their HVAC systems can do to help provide safety for their students and teachers," he said.

RELATED: Schools mull outdoor classes amid virus, ventilation worries

McCurry said since the relief bill was passed, many more schools have reached out about potentially using that money towards ventilation system improvements.

If you are interested in installation or more information about what better air flow can do, you can contact Middleton Heat & Air here or contact McCurry directly at 501-912-2175. 

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