By Brittany Anderson
Following a recent increase in COVID-19 cases, Hays CISD is working to implement district-wide air purifiers that were approved months ago to help keep the air clean on each campus.
The HCISD installs over 1,700 Novaerus NV900 air purifiers – a $ 4.4 million purchase that was approved after weeks of deliberation by a 6-0 vote by the HCISD Board of Directors at the September 27 meeting.
The $ 4.4 million comes from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Assistance Fund (ESSER).
In an email on Jan.3, HCISD communications director Tim Savoy said the district has started installing air purifiers in every classroom and other strategic locations on campuses. Installation will continue over the next few weeks until all campuses are fully covered.
The units will be installed in every classroom in the neighborhood, as well as in nurses’ offices, reception areas, extracurricular rooms, gymnasiums, cafeterias and libraries.
The delivery and installation of the purifiers was delayed as the board wanted to test the effectiveness of the equipment before finalizing the final purchase.
“Air purifiers will not only help neutralize viruses like COVID and the flu, they’re also designed to help reduce other airborne contaminants, including pollen that causes allergies,” he said. Savoy wrote in the email.
In September 2021, Tobias Elementary was closed due to more than 10% of the campus testing positive for COVID.
Between August and October 2021, several individual elementary school classes were also closed due to more than 10% of the class testing positive for COVID.
Savoy also said that due to the surge in the number of cases amid the spread of the Omicron variant, the district has suspended plans to ease restrictions on visitors to campuses during the school day and other protocols. security that the district had hoped to change this month.
“The district will continue with the strictest COVID safety protocols allowed by state law and the Texas Education Agency,” wrote Savoy, which includes regular and vigorous cleaning and disinfection of buildings, strongly encouraging the wearing of the mask and recommending vaccines and booster shots for those who are eligible.
According to the dashboard, in the week leading up to Christmas vacation, there were 12 student cases and 7 staff cases across the district. Since the start of the school year, there has been a cumulative 1055 student and 197 staff cases district-wide.
“We should all brace ourselves for a somewhat uncertain January,” Savoy wrote. “We will need to give each other grace, understanding and flexibility as we see what happens with Omicron. We will continue to focus on what we can do against the virus and what we need to do to keep students in the classroom, where we know they have better academic results and social and emotional experiences. “