Updated: Sep 27, 2022
If you've been advocating for improvements to indoor air quality in schools, you've likely attempted to get schools to utilize their ESSER (American Rescue Plan) dollars to purchase portable HEPA air purifiers or have paid to purchase one out of your own pocket.
Just last week IACA learned that the Utah Department of Health and the Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment joined forces to make portable HEPA air purifiers available for free to every classroom, cafeteria, nurses station, gymnasium, etc…in Utah. To learn more about their program visit, https://www.uphe.org/free-air-purifiers-for-utah-schools/
Upon learning of this program, IACA Co-Founders Michael Bailey, Tara Bailey and Jennifer Yarbrough reached out to the UPHE to learn more. Jonny Vasic, Executive Director for UPHE and Brandi O'Brien, Development and Communication Associate for UPHE were happy to meet with us over Zoom to discuss how their portable HEPA Air Purifier program works.
Through our discussion, we learned UPHE was contacted by the Utah Department of Health to do the outreach and ordering of portable HEPA air purifiers. We also learned that the funds being utilized for this program were coming out of the ELC Reopening Schools federal grant dollars.
UPHE has been advocating for air purifiers in schools for years, due to their well documented and researched health and educational benefits for students.
UPHE chose Medify Air as the manufacturer to purchase from and have now supplied over 45% of schools in Utah with these air purifiers.
After learning more about this program we began digging in to learn more about the ELC Reopening Schools grant funding available in states across the country.
State health departments received a lot of money to run the ELC Reopening Schools program. Here is the ELC FAQ document that details what the funds can be used for. The last page of the document shows that these funds can be used on Portable high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) fans and Air filtration systems / other small items that improve air circulation.
This website has a map with all of the information and updates from states across the US when it comes to ELC funding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dpei/elc/covid-response/index.html So far we've made contact with Utah and Alabama. We are working to contact other states to see if their program is actively purchasing portable HEPA air purifiers for their schools.
To help us compile a list of the states and whether they are providing portable HEPA air purifiers we've created this form. https://forms.gle/V1JNxjzGxs5N4Bp58
As we collect this information we will make it available on this spreadsheet.
Our hope is that we can all work together to ensure these funds are being utilized to purchase portable HEPA air purifiers and make the air in our schools safer for our students, faculty and staff.