Demand improved air quality in PSD schools

Demand improved air quality in PSD schools

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Katie Abrams started this petition to Poudre School District Board of Education

With the Covid-19 Delta variant having a 1000x greater viral load than the original strain, our schools face a much different virus —one that warrants additional mitigation strategies to ensure everyone's safety. The most recent scientific evidence suggests portable HEPA-filter-based air cleaners are safe and offer more benefits than costs and risks. They are useful now for covid mitigation and into the future for air quality problems we already and will continue to face along the Front Range, like wildfire smoke.

However, many of us caregivers who have offered to donate such cleaners have been denied based on Poudre School District policy. The PSD Health and Safety web page "discourages" donations of portable air purifiers to classrooms, but the reasoning presented appears to be outdated based on the CDC's conclusions and does not include any explanation or evidence for the rationale. Indeed, some air “purifiers”, which have been shown to emit ozone, may be harmful, but this policy is being evoked to deny the donation and use of effective and safe HEPA-filter-based air cleaners. 

Requests for Evidence-Based Information and Action

Based on current scientific evidence and CDC- and EPA-recommended policies, we request a change to the aforementioned school district policy to:

  1. allow caregivers and community members to donate safe*, portable HEPA-filter-based air cleaners to individual classrooms, and
  2. raise funds to support the purchase of these and filter replacements at the school level.

*Safe options are identifiable from the California Air Resources Board.

In addition to this policy change, we request the school district do the following:

  1. Allow school administrators and teachers to immediately use safe, portable HEPA filter air cleaners based on the guidance of the CDC and EPA (see “Additional Resources”).
  2. Apply for state funding to purchase portable air quality units for PSD schools and make upgrades to schools’ air quality infrastructure and protocols (due September 10, 2021). Requests to do so from caregivers and families were already emailed in to PSD BOE on or near August 28.
  3. Clearly and publicly communicate more specific school-based mitigation strategies and ongoing room-level air quality assessments as recommended by the Department of Education.
  4. Partner with Colorado State University and community air quality experts to deploy air quality monitors so appropriate decisions to mitigate problems can be made. Some of the world’s leading experts in indoor and outdoor air quality live in and around Fort Collins.
  5. In instances where room-level air quality monitoring is not taking place, institute strategies to assess air quality based on the recommendations of indoor air quality experts.

With our children under 12 unable to get vaccinated in the face of the immediate and imminent threat posed by the Delta variant, and the future threat of ongoing air quality issues, safe, portable HEPA air cleaners are an effective option that can be implemented immediately. Caregivers and community members are ready to organize and donate now if the school district is not able to provide them.

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At 500 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!