ASHRAE Releases Building Science Guide for Reopening Schools

Originally published by: ASHRAEJuly 22, 2020

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The ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force has developed guidance on the operation of HVAC systems to help mitigate the airborne transmission of SARS-CoV-2 as schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic year.

Screen shot of ASHRAE epidemic task force presentation

The 41-page Presentation includes convenient checklists to prepare educational buildings to resume occupancy such as starting up HVAC systems as well as checks and verifications to maintain during the academic school year. The guidance is meant to provide practical information to school districts and university campus environmental health managers, facility managers, administrators, technicians and service providers.

“As schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic semester, it's important to keep children and school staff safe,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE President Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “ASHRAE’s school reopening guide will serve as a resource to school leaders as they work in lockstep with health experts to finalize plans to keep everyone safe.”

The guide includes the following topics:

  • Determining Building Readiness
  • Equipment & System Specific Checks & Verifications During the Academic Year
  • New/Modified Facility Design Recommendations
  • Filtration Upgrades
  • Operations of Occupied Facilities
  • Controlling Infection Outbreak in School Facilities
  • Higher Education Facilities Recommendations

 Also included is guidance formulated to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems as well as new guidance on student health facilities, laboratories, athletic facilities, residence halls, and large assemblies, lectures and theatres.

“School and university officials are challenged with making very difficult decisions on how to best protect both students and staff as education facilities reopen, said Corey Metzger, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools Team lead. “This guidance offers a solid framework on ventilation control, filtration and maintenance that can be applied to different climate zones, building types and HVAC systems.”

For the complete ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force school reopening guide and other COVID-19 resources, visit ashrae.org/COVID-19.

 

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