"The federal government gave schools billions for coronavirus mitigation over the past two years. Only recently, though, are most using those dollars for what has turned out to be a critical measure: keeping indoor air clean.
School officials reluctant to reinstate mask-wearing requirements when students return to the classroom this fall are rushing to improve indoor air quality to combat what one expert called the “worst version” of the virus: omicron subvariant BA. 5, which has shown a remarkable ability to evade immunity and reinfect Americans.
The science has been evident for more than a year that ventilation is key to slowing the spread of the virus, we've detailed how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was slow to emphasize this in its recommendations.
But according to conversations with eight school officials as well as experts across the country, indoor air cleaning efforts have just begun — and they’re running up against strained supply chains, spiking costs and labor shortages that might have been avoidable had the control measure been emphasized by public health officials earlier in the pandemic."
McKenzie Beard reports for the Washington Post with Rachel Roubein July 19, 2022.