In with the new: Academy D20 focuses on airflow amid coronavirus pandemic

Digital Now

COLORADO SPRINGS — As schools here in southern Colorado re-open under tight guidelines and restrictions in light of the coronavirus pandemic, a closer look is being taken at the air circulating inside buildings.

Academy District 20 is trying to stop the spread of coronavirus as much as possible in the air.

“Safety is always a top priority here at Academy District 20,” said Allison Cortez the
Chief Communication Officer for Academy District 20.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends better ventilation throughout the schools, but that isn’t as easy as propping open doors and windows, which could leave students and staff vulnerable to other threats.

So beyond the masks, the extra space, and hybrid learning models, D20 worked with the Colorado Springs Fire Department to find the best solutions.

“We worked with the fire department to understand what doors could be open, what had to be shut, what windows could be open,” Cortez said.

Kris Cooper, the Deputy Fire Marshal for the Colorado Springs Fire Department, works closely with all the school districts in Colorado Springs.

“We have just a great working relationship with them and knowing they cannot prop open fire doors, and that creates not only a fire safety violation and a risk, but they also know that creates security concerns for the schools,” said Cooper.

Without breaking county codes or compromising safety together, they came up with air handling units.

“What we can do in a school building that doesn’t have windows that open or maybe when we can’t open doors is our air handler pulls in more fresh air from outside to increase that air circulation in the building which ultimately helps with COVID,” according to Cortez.

“They are able to provide that fresh air for the students without violating the fire code and other safety standards,” Cooper explained.

D20 is working to protect students and staff no matter what the threat may be.

“Keeping our students safe from intruders or gun violence, we have safety from fires, and now we have safety from COVID,” voiced Cortez.

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