The University of Tulsa has researched how to keep people healthy indoors for years and is now able to use that information to guide districts across the country.
While each district has decided when to have students and staff back into the classroom, they’re looking for inexpensive and effective ways to keep everyone as healthy as possible.
Dr. Richard Shaughnessy, director of the Indoor Air Program at the University of Tulsa, said the program's research of U.S. schools shows up to 90% need more ventilation.
Shaughnessy said these four focus points help slow the spread of viruses: distancing/masks, cleaning/disinfection, ventilation, air cleaning (filtration).
Last week, Shaughnessy gave a virtual presentation on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency to more than 1,200 people from all over the country.
"They wanted to know what kind of cleaning products should we use, they wanted to know how do we validate, how do we know that we're doing the cleaning effectively?" Shaughnessy explained.
Shaughnessy said there are affordable options, such as meters that check surfaces, like desks, for the amount of bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms.
"Schools can be assured that with a simple metric like this whether or not they're meeting the guidelines that they're trying to achieve," said Shaughnessy.
Another simple tool, like a carbon dioxide, meter can help figure out if enough outdoor air is flowing in, according to Shaughnessy.
"It's not just what we cough out and what we sneeze,” said Shaughnessy. “Some of aerosols stay in the air for a prolonged period of time, and so we bring in outdoor air to try to dilute that."
Shaughnessy recommends filters that increase air flow while capturing more particles.
He said the program and its research do not recommend specific brands of products. Instead, it focuses on the best practices to clean and check for the effectiveness.
For more information, you can visit the program’s website here.