Cleaner air improves student performance, decreases COVID transmission and school absenteeism.
In an historic, far reaching clean air initiative, Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services (UDHHS) have joined forces to launch a project to place air purifiers in every K through 12 school classrooms in the state. The funding comes from a federal grant, ELC Reopening Schools Grant.
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A wealth of medical research has shown that even low levels of air pollution can impair brain development, cognition, memory, and learning capability, and can increase the severity and transmissibility of infectious diseases like COVID-19. Putting air purifiers in schools will improve student performance, make classrooms safer, reduce absenteeism, and will improve the overall health of students and teachers.
“Medical research shows cleaner air helps protect long term brain development and function. Our school children have suffered a huge setback in their education because of COVID-19, so we should be doing everything we can to help them catch up. This program will improve their learning, test scores and career potential,” said Dr. Brian Moench, President of UPHE.
One study found that air purifiers, even when baseline pollution is well below the EPA’s standards, resulted in improved performance of school children, even more than standard interventions such as reducing class size by 30%, “high dose” tutoring, increasing family income with an earned income tax credit, or the Head Start program.
“Cleaner air means a more productive and safer classrooms for students and teachers,” said Jonny Vasic, Executive Director UPHE. “This air purifier program is being paid for by a federal grant, not costing schools or parents anything. But schools have to sign up for the program. We encourage every teacher and every student’s parents to make sure their school has them.”
School districts and individual schools don’t have to do anything other than sign up for the program, UPHE and the Utah Department of Health and Human Services will take care of the rest. This federal grant ends July 31st of 2023, so the air purifiers must be ordered before then. To make sure your school gets these air purifiers, go to our website, https://www.uphe.org/free-air-purifiers-for-utah-schools/ or email [email protected]
“Even when air pollution levels are low, reducing them further makes students and teachers less likely to require out of patient care and hospitalization, thereby reducing absences because of illness. Furthermore, it offers clear health and (and likely educational) benefits for the long term.” said UPHE Board Member Dr. E. Tom Nelson.
This press release was provided by Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment.