Philly Schools to install NASA technology air purifiers, require mask wearing for in-person learning

The School District of Philadelphia is outlining its safety measures before the first day of school on August 31.

6abc Digital Staff Image
Thursday, July 15, 2021
Philly Schools to install air purifiers in every classroom
Air and surface purifiers will be installed in every classroom in every school in the Philadelphia School District.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Air and surface purifiers will be installed in every classroom in every public school in Philadelphia, the school district announced Thursday.

With the School District of Philadelphia returning to full in-person, five-days-per-week learning on August 31, officials are continuing to update their back-to-school plan.

"These state-of-the-art purifiers use NASA technology and dramatically reduce surface and air contaminants," the district said on its "Ring The Bell PHL" website.

Among other health and safety measures, officials said they are cleaning walls, floors, furniture, doors, windows, bathrooms, fixtures and dispensers, railings, light switches and more in every school.

Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite also said Thursday that all individuals entering school buildings, regardless of their vaccination status, will be required to wear masks. The requirement will remain in place until guidance from the CDC and the Philadelphia Department of Health changes.

District officials said they are testing the 1,070 touchless hydration stations in schools to be sure that they work and comply with safe drinking water regulations. They are also refilling hand sanitizer stations and ensuring supplies are available at every school to support frequent handwashing.

"We have removed more than 20 miles of asbestos-containing materials from schools since last summer. Now we are removing more material from 35 schools with environmental and capital projects," the district said.

The district is also investing more than $160 million to improve school buildings, including replacing roofs, upgrading electrical systems, improving classrooms, replacing heating and ventilation systems and more.

Another change coming to the upcoming school year is a new bell schedule.

There will be three bell times affecting a student's bus schedule and the daily school start and end times district-wide. School leaders will share information regarding the 2021-22 bell schedule to their respective school communities this month, officials said.

New school times? The School District of Philadelphia is exploring a 3-tiered bell schedule of 7:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m. and 9 a.m.