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Clearing the Air: The Movement for HEPA Purifiers in Classrooms

In a recent trend to improve indoor air quality, multiple states across the US have been finding ways to put HEPA purifiers in their schools.  

With funding from CDC’s American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, Illinois launched a $30 million program to distribute air purifiers in Illinois schools [1].

Colorado and New Jersey also have statewide programs providing free HEPA purifiers in schools. With advocacy from Indoor Air Advocates [2], a school district in northern Alabama received funding to add two HEPA purifiers in every classroom [3]. 

Bring HEPAs into YOUR State: 

According to a recent CDC report [4], substantial federal funding [5] is available for ventilation improvements in school buildings. These improvements reduce transmission of COVID-19 and other viruses, and have been shown to improve students’ academic outcomes.

The CDC concludes:

“Ventilation is part of a comprehensive approach to reducing COVID-19 spread and maintaining safe, in-person learning. …Undertaking ventilation improvements now might lead to far-reaching improvements in student and staff member health outcomes. Ensuring equitable access to resources, support, and other facilitators of ventilation improvements is important.”  

The CDC’s updated Ventilation in Buildings Guidelines [6] recommends HEPA purifiers, DIY air cleaners (aka CR Boxes [7]), CO2 monitors, and masking for children ages 2 and above to reduce chances of infection and transmission at school [8]. ASHRAE [9] recently published Control of Infectious Aerosols [10], which includes minimum indoor air standards to reduce COVID-19 in school settings.

For detailed information on how to help advocate for pathways to safe learning, including letter/email templates for parents, checklists for teachers, guidance for principals, as well as social/community resources and homeschooling/virtual schooling resources, see WHN’s Paths to Healthy Learning [11] guide.

WHN Announcements:

July Broadcasts:

WHN Update: Life Expectancy Drops from COVID-19

Long COVID Patients Symptoms and Prevention

WHN Update: Submarine Safety is Like COVID Safety

Rapid Antigen Tests Are Not Reliable

Weekly Action: 

Sign NNU’s Petition to urge CDC and HICPAC to Fully Protect Health Care Workers and Patients

Of Note: 

Kid-made Animation Video On HEPA Purifiers In Schools


[1] IDPH Launches $30 Million Program to Distribute Air Purifiers in Illinois Schools.–30-million-program-to-distribute-air-purifiers-in.html 

[2] Home- Indoor Air Care Advocates. Accessed July 26, 2023.

[3] Huntsville City Schools Add Two HEPA Filters to Every Classroom. IAQ Advocates. Published July 21, 2023. Accessed July 26, 2023. 

[4] Mark-Carew M. Ventilation Improvements Among K–12 Public School Districts — United States, August–December 2022. MMWR Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2023;72. doi: 


[6] CDC. Community, Work, and School. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published February 11, 2020. 

[7] UC Davis. The Corsi-Rosenthal Box: DIY Box Fan Air Filter for COVID-19 and Wildfire Smoke. Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. Published March 15, 2022. 

‌[8] CDC, CDC. Protect Your Child from COVID-19, the Flu, and Other Illnesses. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published April 27, 2023. 

[9] Home | American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 

[10] ASHRAE Publishes Standard 241, Control of Infectious Aerosols | Accessed July 26, 2023. 

[11] Paths to Healthy Learning. WHN. Published May 31, 2023.