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Air purification in the classroom. Is it effective?
For a sustainable resumption of activity in schools, it is essential that classrooms are free of all kinds of contaminants. Of course, this can be achieved by using proven hygiene systems, such as a classroom air purifier, to keep the air free from viruses. The coronavirus is a major challenge for teachers, cleaning staff and school directors. Even regular disinfection by spraying and wiping does not protect against this virus, which hardly spreads by contact and droplets, but mainly through the ambient air. Therefore, in order to protect pupils and teachers, proven measures must be taken to reliably reduce the risk of airborne contamination. Can a classroom air purifier effectively reduce the risk of covid-19 infection? In this article, we tell you everything you need to know about air purification in the classroom. As well as the studies that support it and what to look out for when choosing an air purifier for the classroom.
Air purification against viruses for safer school activities
Face-to-face classes involve proximity between people, spontaneous reactions through gestures, behaviour, questions and answers. So teachers cannot do without direct contact if they want to do their pedagogical work.
However, such direct contact always entails the risk of contracting an airborne infectious disease. In the most innocent case: influenza, in times of coronavirus: Covid-19. Therefore, in addition to the usual hygiene measures, it is advisable to keep the ambient air and the breathing zone as clean and free from bacteria and viruses as possible. To protect the teachers, but also the pupils. This will prevent absenteeism and the spread of contagious diseases. The question is whether an air cleaner in the classroom is the best option for keeping the air in the classroom free from viruses.
Clean air in classrooms protects teachers and pupils
Viruses and bacteria are an invisible danger in every classroom. Pathogens can survive in the ambient air for several hours, during which time they pose a potential health risk each time they are inhaled. For example, current studies show that the coronavirus survives in the air for several hours and during that time it also retains its infectious capacity.
It is important to note that the virus enters the room air through aerosols emitted during breathing and talking. The viruses attach themselves to these small particles and form virulent aerosols that, due to their light weight, float in the air and are inadvertently inhaled by other people in the classroom, such as other students and teachers. Opening windows is not an effective measure for eliminating these aerosols. Therefore, many experts wonder whether air cleaning in the classroom can be an effective measure.
Strategies to prevent infection in the classroom
Reducing class size has been a basic part of the hygiene strategy in many countries. But no matter how small the groups are, the virus continues to spread. And the use of face masks only provides limited protection against the direct “viral rain” of saliva emitted when talking. Unfortunately, these measures have not proved effective against the aerosols containing germs that are released into the ambient air through breathing and talking and that remain floating freely as an aerosol cloud for several hours.
Just by talking loudly, every person emits thousands of aerosols into the air every minute. Singing in a group releases even more. Masks are an important first step in reducing the risk of direct drop transmission of the coronavirus. However, this measure alone does not protect against a much greater risk of transmission: free-floating aerosol clouds in the ambient air.
Aerosols and coronavirus
Such aerosol clouds overcome even the physical barriers formed by a saliva screen or partitions, so that aerosol particles always find their way to the respiratory tract and the eyes. The long floatation period of aerosols also reveals another problem. Since aerosols spread through the air current, the air mixes in a room every time the door opens and closes.
Only a comprehensive solution, synchronised with other hygiene measures and additional air purification, can reliably and sustainably reduce the risk of infection. Especially since, according to TU/E, cleaning the air in classrooms can reduce the risk of infection with the coronavirus by up to 12 times. Therefore, do not rely solely on spatial separation, masks or more frequent hand washing than usual to prevent infection in classrooms. Airborne aerosols are a health risk that can only be avoided by cleaning the air in the classroom.
The proven effectiveness of air purification in the classroom
Keeping the air in the room free from germs and viruses minimises the risk of airborne infection. Studies have shown that air purifiers for classrooms effectively and quickly reduce the residence time and intensity of aerosol clouds and airborne particles in closed rooms. This creates schools with a very low risk of infection for pupils and teaching staff.
But not every air purifier is equally effective. Essential are:
- Powerful air purifiers. Their power ensures that they can consistently and effectively clean all the air in the classroom.
- Air purifiers with HEPA filter and UVC system. This enables the air purifier to remove not only air pollutants such as fine dust, but also viruses and bacteria.
- Quiet air purifiers. Since it is a classroom, you also need to consider the noise they generate so that it does not disturb.
- No ozone emissions. Ozone is very harmful to health, especially for children.
The best air cleaner against bacteria and viruses in the classroom
The UV-C air purifier EDC650 is the solution against virus particles and bacteria in the classroom. Thanks to the UV-C lamps and HEPA filters, you can effectively repel micro-organisms (such as viruses) with this professional air cleaner. Moreover, the EDC650 UV-C uses unique and patented circulation and filtration techniques: reverse air circulation combined with air displacement. According to TNO, this method of air purification removes airborne contaminants up to 30% more effectively than ordinary air purifiers. Not only is it a model approved by the FPS, but it is also on the list of air purification products in Belgium that have been checked and approved against the coronavirus.
Moreover, the EDC650 UV-C is quiet in operation. Depending on the air speed, the decibel level ranges from a pleasant 27 to 49 dB. This is comparable to a quiet classroom or living room. Thanks to its high capacity and quiet operation, the EDC650 UV-C is ideal for the classroom, both in schools and in higher education.
Need advice or more information?
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