COVID Relief – Indoor Air Quality Funding

K-12 Public Schools have had a longstanding problem of poor indoor air quality leading to the spread of sickness and disease. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists air ventilations as a layer of protection against COVID in reopening K-12 schools this Fall 2021 semester.

On March 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, $1.9 trillion in COVID relief was issued with the The American Rescue Plan (ARP). With $122 billion in funding set aside for K-8 schools in the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief iii (ARP ESSER) fund.

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief iii (ARP ESSER) specifically lists this funding to be used for creating a healthy learning environment by improving indoor air quality. These funds are still useable until December 31, 2024.

APR ESSER iii funding can be used for new construction, remodeling, alterations, renovation and repairs. Projects can include improving indoor air quality, such as HVAC, control systems, ventilation, purification, and other air cleaning systems.

How to use funding to improve indoor air quality in your schools:

  1. Improve ventilation Bring in outdoor air when it’s safe to do so.
  2. Install quality air filters HEPA filters might be needed in commonly occupied spaces such as classrooms.
  3. Bipolar ionization Bipolar ionization is proven to improve indoor air quality and is effective against COVID and influenza.
  4. Avoid air quality scams Chemical foggers won’t improve your air quality.
  5. Don’t overspend on enhanced cleaning COVID rarely spreads from surface contact. Fumes from excessive cleaning could reduce your air quality.
  6. Ensure exhaust fans Make sure exhaust fans work in kitchens and bathrooms.

Building automation system can orchestrate a number of these solutions in a manageable, efficient, and affordable way. Unify Energy Systems can help your school district save money, as the system can pay for itself in six months to two years.

If more ESSER Funding becomes available, eligible state and local governments can use the Treasury Submission Portal to request funds.


  1. The American Rescue Plan
  2. Business Insider
  3. The Center for Disease Control
  4. John Hopkins Center for Health Security
  5. Office of Elementary and Secondary Education