Erie County Department of Health announces air filtration project for school classrooms

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-01 11:14:11-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health announced an air filtration project for school classrooms Wednesday.

About 10,600 air filtration units have been ordered from Austin Air Systems of Buffalo for every k-12 public and charter classroom in Erie County. The ECDOH said it worked closely with the Office of the County Executive and school leaders throughout the county to plan and implement the project.

The county said each unit costs $500 and it has invested around $5.3 million in federal funding for the project from a grant directed towards COVID-19 mitigation measures within k-12 schools.

“The COVID-19 pandemic burdened schools and families with incredible challenges and concerns over health and safety. The path of this pandemic and our response to it have shifted. Equipping our schools with Austin Air Healthmate Air Purifiers will help create a healthier school environment for k-12 students. This investment is a critical component of my back-on-track agenda to help our children recover from the damage caused by the pandemic."
- Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz
“Maintaining improved ventilation in public indoor spaces is a core recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), no matter what level of COVID-19 transmission a community is experiencing. “Staying home when ill, seeking testing as appropriate, wearing a mask as recommended, and getting vaccinated and boosted are other key parts of a comprehensive strategy to keep children and school staff healthy, and learning at school. This initiative will help keep the approximate 130,000 k-12 students and school staff in Erie County healthy by reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne contagions.”
- Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein
“The Buffalo Public Schools are elated to be included in Erie County Executive Poloncarz’s initiative to place an air purifier machine in every classroom within Erie County. Air purifier machines increase ventilation and add better filtration. These particular air purifiers are high quality and have a charcoal filter that will remove toxic gases like a car exhaust or bus fumes that may enter a building during arrival and dismissal. The second stage of the filter unit contains a HEPA filter, which removes up to 99% of all pollen, bacteria, and viruses in the air. Ultimately, these air purifier machines will have a positive effect in ensuring proper air treatment of all occupied classrooms and will help our children breath in clean air. The safety of our entire school community is our top priority!”
- Buffalo Public School District Superintendent Dr. Tonja Williams

Several districts have received their units, all others are expected to receive them this summer.