Los Angeles Unified Launches Effort to Further
Improve Air Quality in Schools
Nation-leading study to be conducted together with experts from the
South Coast Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board
Effort builds on installation of MERV-13 air filters in 80 million square feet of buildings as part of Los Angeles Unified’s ongoing efforts to maintain the highest standard of school safety in the nation
LOS ANGELES (June 9, 2021) — Los Angeles Unified Superintendent Austin Beutner today announced a pilot program to study ways to further improve air quality in school classrooms. Los Angeles Unified has already installed MERV-13 air filters in 80 million square feet of buildings, including all classrooms, as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the highest standard of school safety in the nation.
“The goal is to create the best possible standard of air quality at schools,” Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “Students will not only be protected from airborne viruses like COVID but also from the harmful effects of airplane and truck emissions in transit corridors as well as dangerous pollutants from wildfires. We recognize the importance environmental safety plays in the lives of the students and staff in our schools and want to continue to build on the progress we have already made.”
Over the years, multiple studies have shown the harmful impacts poor air quality has on children.
Industry experts including specialists from the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the California Air Resources Board will help develop the study and evaluate the results.
“Los Angeles Unified has been at the forefront of ensuring the safety of our students and staff during the COVID-19 pandemic, and this pilot builds on that commitment,” Board President Kelly Gonez said. “We will continue to have the highest standards for safety as we look towards our summer program and a return in the fall.”
“The health and safety of our students and staff are a key component to delivering a high quality education,” Board Member Dr. George J. McKenna III said. “Exploring new tools to achieve that objective will only make Los Angeles Unified more nimble.”
“We ask our students to breathe in wellness and strength every day,” Board Member Mónica García said. “We must preserve our air-quality standards to address the issues in urban environments beyond COVID-19.”
“The Los Angeles Unified School District takes pride in creating nurturing educational environments for students, staff and parents,” Board Member Scott M. Schmerelson said. “As we bring students back into the classroom, we must ensure it is done in the safest way possible and that we have the capacity to maintain clean classrooms 100 percent of the time. This pilot program will allow us to work with air-quality experts to find effective and innovative ways to maintain our classrooms and keep our students safe.”
“The health and wellbeing of our students is critical, and this pilot project is an exciting new partnership to promote clean air and ventilation in our school communities,” Board Member Nick Melvoin said. “I’m proud of the continued efforts of LA Unified to ensure that our kids are protected, not only from the coronavirus but also from the harmful effects of air pollution in our city.”
“I’m excited we are starting a pilot program to study ways to further improve air quality in school classrooms,” Board Member Jackie Goldberg said. “The health and safety of all in our schools is a top priority and it starts with clean air.”
“Providing safe and clean school facilities is of the utmost importance to ensure our scholars learn in a healthy learning environment,” Board Member Tanya Ortiz Franklin said. “I look forward to learning more about the air quality at our schools and building upon our progress.”
“Under Superintendent Beutner’s leadership, the Los Angeles Unified School District voted to send a signal that clean air for their staff and students is important,” said Elizabeth Scheehle, Chief of the Research Division at the California Air Resources Board.