USA: The US EPA is to provide funding to help schools retrofit their HVAC systems to create cleaner air and provide neighbourhood cooling refuges in vulnerable communities.
Using funding from the American Rescue Plan Act, the EPA has selected Pima County, Arizona; the Bay Area Air Quality Management District in the San Francisco Bay Area; Multnomah County, Oregon; and Kittitas County, Washington, as beneficiaries.
“This assistance will help schools keep their students safer every day with healthier air,” said administrator Michael S Regan. “In addition, as we see increasing impacts from climate change, this approach can be a model for how other communities can create safe gathering places during dangerous heat waves and smoke events.”
EPA and its consultant team, which will include experts in community engagement, disaster policy, and HVAC engineering, will host workshops with local partners to create an action plan to retrofit the schools. The action plan, developed with community input, will include goals, such as improving ventilation and filtration systems in public school facilities to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission and other airborne illnesses.