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West Sylvan classrooms need more filtration capacity
Even with the Intellipure air purifiers running at their tolerable noise level (half speed):
✘ 5 classrooms are tied for the lowest airflow: 303
Rooms 115, 117, 118, 120, and 125 all have just one single change of air per hour.*
With ventilation & filtration this low, how long do kids’ and staff’s viruses in their respiratory aerosols linger in these 5 classroom’s air?
>2 hours and 18 minutes
At 1 air change/hour, 2 hours 18 minutes is how long it takes for the HVAC system and Intellipure to clear out 90% of the respiratory aerosols being produced when kids and staff breathe, talk, sing, cough and sneeze.
The single change of air each hour in these rooms is also solely provided by the Intellipure. Each of these rooms had serious problems noted for the unit ventilator HVAC systems that are supposed to serve these room. The unit ventilator in room 115 is not running due to an electrical issue, and maybe a steam leak. The unit ventilator in room 117 has bad blower bearings. In rooms 118 and 125, the belts have problems and the units have bad blower shaft bearings. In room 120, it’s probably a bad motor.
✘ Three more West Sylvan classroom have less than 2 air changes per hour
At 2 air changes per hour, it takes the HVAC system and Intellipure 1 hour and 9 minutes to clear 90% of the respiratory aerosols. One of these three rooms – room 164 – is another room with a broken unit ventilator.
✘ 17 classrooms are between 2 and 3 air changes per hour & 22 more are between 3 and 6 – all below recommendations
Only 1 classroom has safe air with ventilation and filtration providing 6 air changes per hour or more, clearing 90% of aerosols out in 23 minutes or less.
Room 138 – Performing arts room: 9.1
Just 15 minutes to clear out 90% of aerosols in room 21
This performing arts room has good airflow, but it could be even better. At 12 air changes an hour, aerosols clear out by 90% in under 12 minutes.
About these ventilation and filtration measurements
Before resuming in-person learning in 2021, PPS had airflow testing conducted in every room of every PPS building. We have corrected gaps in West Sylvan’s airflow report as originally published by the district, to get this summary. We have also run numbers on one potential plan for West Sylvan adding Medify units that are being offered to schools by the Oregon Health Authority, if district personnel follow through on signing up to get them by April 28.
The Intellipure air purifiers are insufficient in West Sylvan classrooms
An Intellipure running at its tolerable noise level only provides 182 cubic feet of clean air per minute. Even at its highest speed setting, which is too noisy, an Intellipure only provides 270 cubic feet of clean air per minute.
West Sylvan classrooms need additional, high quality air purifiers to provide safe air to kids now, when HVAC system overhauls will take the district years to do in all schools.
PPS staff need to order additional air purifiers for West Sylvan from the Oregon Health Authority by April 28
The Oregon Health Authority first opened this program at the beginning of April, and at that time, PPS planned to order “no additional units.” But parents like you across our district organized with us to help district staff and leaders understand the need to take full advantage of this opportunity to obtain better air purifiers at no cost to PPS. The district announced initially that they would order only 600 units, but we have over 2600 classrooms in the district.
Parents in our network stepped up again, and our work paid off! PPS announced that they have placed an order for 3500 air purifiers.
We will see for sure how many of which models each school will get when the orders arrive, but we expect this to result in each classroom in the district either having two Medify air purifiers or one Intellipure and one Medify air purifier. And we hope the order will include the MA-1000s for gyms, cafeterias, large libraries, large music rooms and performance rooms, and other large communal spaces that serve students and staff. With both an Intellipure and a Medify, teachers can set the two air purifiers at a quiet speed, but still get more clean air delivered to the room than one Intellipure can deliver, even when it is set at it’s highest setting!
We’re not done working for cleaner classroom air, though. You can still join us below to learn more!
Highlights of our preliminary classification of providing Medify’s to West Sylvan using OHA’s suggestions for how to distribute them
7 Medify MA-50’s, 45 Medify MA-112’s, and 11 Medify MA-1000’s would:
- Bring 34 out of 40 West Sylvan classrooms to above 3 air changes an hour (6 classrooms, including the extra large performing arts room 130, and the 5 classrooms that currently have the lowest airflow would only range from 2.2 to 2.6 air changes/hour)
- Bring the library up to nearly 6 air changes per hour, if the library is provided the powerful MA-1000 set at it’s quiet speed
- Bring the cafeteria up from 1.5 to nearly 4 air changes per hour
- Bring the large gym up to 5 air changes per hour
- Have classrooms ranging from 2.2 to 10.5 air changes per hour
Join us in asking PPS and OHA to add these new filters while also maintaining the existing filtration capacity the Intellipures provide.
How can you help?
We need to make sure PPS and OHA provide more air purifiers to West Sylvan – Sign up to help advocate for PPS ordering these units and OHA granting them!
Let’s get more air filtration in the 17 West Sylvan classrooms that do not even get 3 changes of air per hour and the 22 classrooms that only get between 3 and 6! And let’s make sure West Sylvan’s cafeteria, where kids pack in close to eat lunch, and library and other key spaces get better air quality.
Join us to be part of a group of parents and community members advocating for strategic, effective, and science-based planning for sufficient ventilation and filtration capacity in PPS schools — including West Sylvan .
Sign up on our signup form to also help make a better proposed plan for West Sylvan. Facilities staff worked hard to get the Intellipures, but PPS left serious gaps in the ventilation and filtration in elementary, middle school, and K-8 schools across the district.
So we would like participation and feedback from more PPS community members – parents, family, and actual staff in our schools – on what spaces in each school are actually used for what, so that PPS kids and staff, including kids and staff at West Sylvan, get more of the quiet, effective filtration capacity that they need. Sign up below to join our organizing for PPS air quality!
*Notes on our numbers
Air changes per hour given here are “equivalent” and include ventilation and filtration. These numbers are based on the district’s airflow report for West Sylvan, conducted in August 2021 (available at tinyurl.com/westsylvanairflow) but corrected using specifications from the manufacturer of the Intellipure units to allow calculation of air changes per hour with the Intellipure at half speed instead of the district-provided air changes per hour with the Intellipure set at full speed.
Also, please note that the total classrooms across the district below 3 and between 3 and 6 are 597 / 1111 and counting…