Air purifiers protect hybrid students/staff from COVID-19


Elizabeth Rajnik

English Teacher Natalie Rebetsky teaches in a room with a new air-purifier. Set to be on for 8 hours, the unit is quiet, and few notice it.

by Ryan Dorsey, Reporter

As Frederick County Public Schools reopened, air purifiers are a main precaution against the global coronavirus pandemic.After nearly a year of no in-person school (except for a few students), Frederick County reopened school doors for optional hybrid learning. The health and safety of the students is a major concern.

Multiple precautions have been taken to ensure the safety of students, including mandatory masks, social distancing via spacing out desks, paper desk mats, limited numbers of students in gathering areas, and more.

One of the biggest reasons schools were able to open back up is because of air purifiers. COVID-19 or coronavirus is an airborne virus, meaning it spreads predominantly through the air.

FCPS were granted 3 million dollars for COVID relief, most of which came from the county’s 45 million dollar federal Coronavirus Relief Fund award. Some of this relief money was spent on air purifiers and other COVID saftey installments in schools.

Air purifiers use an internal system of fans to pull the air in through a series of filters, sanitizing the air.

There is scientific evidence to prove that these purifiers reduce risk of coronavirus, and they are being used not just in schools, but in indoor buildings throughout the United States.

Hybrid student Josh DeRosa said, “Every class I was in had an air purifier. Most of them were just sitting on the ground or in the corner of the room and weren’t really distracting.”

As COVID numbers have recently reached an incredibly alarming 500,000 deaths in the United States as of early March 2021, many students are hesitant to return to buildings. Precautions like the air purifiers give students more confidence in attending hybrid learning.

“I feel that the air purifiers help reduce risk of covid because the disease spreads through the air,” DeRosa said. “I, and many others, feel better about going to school knowing the precautions the school is taking like the air purifiers.”

FCPS recently distributed the air purifiers based on school need.

Lead custodian Michael Bowles said, “We currently have 75 air purifiers in the building, and there is one in every classroom/area that students and staff occupy.”

The purifiers have replaceable filters, and they need to be cleaned to work well.

“Each purifier is cleaned every Wednesday,” Bowles said. “We use a microfiber cloth to remove any dust accumulation.”

Teacher Christian Madenspacher said, “Teachers are only responsible for turning them on and off. I just come in and turn on the 8 hour cycle.”

With hybrid learning beginning just three weeks ago,  no COVID-19 cases have been reported in the school.