Illinois Department of Health launches $30 million program for air purifiers in schools

empty classroom (Source: Pexels/Deane Bayas)
empty classroom (Source: Pexels/Deane Bayas)

(KBSI) – The state of Illinois is launching a $29.6 million program to distribute more than 60,000 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) purifiers to Illinois schools to help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) made the announcement Thursday, March 16.

IDPH is coordinating the program with the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

The program is funded by the CDC through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. It is targeted for school districts that serve lower income communities and counties that have elevated air pollution counts.

IDPH estimates nearly 3,000 schools will be eligible for the program. The covers 68 percent of school districts in the state.

The program will cover schools throughout the state, including Cook County, with the exception of Chicago, which received a separate federal grant.

IDPH is launching an enrollment process in coordination with ISBE through which schools can submit orders for portable HEPA air purifiers.

The administrators of eligible school districts will be contacted directly with information about how many purifiers their districts are eligible to receive.

The portable air purifiers will be delivered to school districts in the coming months.

Schools will generally be eligible for one small air filter unit for each 20 students in a school. A limited number of larger units will be available for districts with more than 1,000 students.

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