“We’ll just open the windows”. That’s the objection we hear often from school officials when we recommend improving the air quality in their school buses with MERV-13 equivalent filtration.
School buses are densely packed spaces with poor filtration and ventilation. A school bus density is comparable to squeezing 200 students into a classroom designed for 25 students. Airborne contaminants filling the school bus have earned the school bus nicknames like “the germ mobile” and “the rolling petri dish”.
Air filtration in school buses can be improved, easily and affordably, with MERV-13 equivalent filtration, the same filter efficiency the EPA recommends for classrooms and public buildings. In fact, ESSER funds provided for improvements to indoor air quality in school facilities, included school buses.
“Opening the windows” rarely happens, especially in states where average temperatures in school months are below 60 degrees. Opening windows also subjects students and bus drivers to road pollution, vehicle exhaust, and at times, severely unhealthy air quality like we are experiencing in many states now, caused by wildfires hundreds of miles away.
Zero emission school buses don’t produce toxic exhaust which is great for the environment, but they do not remove contaminants from the air inside the school bus, where most students and bus drivers spend between 40 minutes and 2 hours every day, breathing dirty, unfiltered air. Air quality inside school buses should be held to the same standard as air quality inside school buildings.
Breathing contaminated air is like drinking dirty, unfiltered water. It can cause numerous health issues, especially in children. Poor air quality can cause issues from coughing and wheezing to more serious conditions such as asthma and cancer. It can also increase the spread of airborne illnesses like Covid, the flu and the common cold. https://lumin-air.com/school-bus-air/. Breathing polluted air harms students’ academic performance. If students get sick, they miss school. Bus drivers, average age 55, are also more susceptible to airborne illnesses.
School buses are densely populated, buildings on wheels, and represent one of the highest risk areas within any school facility. They transport over 25 million students to and from school each day are a direct link between schools and the community at large. Cleaning the air in occupied school buses is essential to keeping students and bus drivers safe.