Superintendent Molly Spearman schools can use recent federal funding on things like facility repairs and on indoor air quality.

 

$940,420,782 of federal funding was approved last December for public schools in South Carolina.

Today Superintendent Molly Spearman noted the biggest difference with this funding then previous federal funding is schools can use it on things like facility repairs and on indoor air quality.

Air quality inside of buildings has become a big concern since the pandemic.

“I think a number of districts are looking at ways that they can repair and upgrade air quality in their buildings which is very unusual to have federal funding to do that,” Spearman said.

The Department of Education said at last check they have not received any plans from districts, but expect to start seeing some next week.

Since the pandemic shinned a light at just how important air filtration systems can be and experts say it can help with killing viruses like COVID-19.

The most damaging products are the tiny microns and the microscopic particles that just can go right through a standard air filter into your longs and into your blood stream,” Kenny Wardlaw with Cool Care Heating and Air said.

Wardlaw said there are several types of filters and systems that can help with air quality in homes, businesses and schools.

“They have capture and kill technology, it catches small particles you can’t even see and ionizers and UV lights,” Wardlaw said.

With federal funds now available to be used on updating schools facilities and improve air quality, Patrick Kelly with the Palmetto State Teachers Association said this has been a long awaited need.

“We need our district leaders to be creative and innovative and use this money that is not just for immediate needs, but can be transformational for the future,” Kelly said. “So an investment into HVAC systems for schools who need it will be a very good investment, but it going to take time.”

Kelly is right, it can take several weeks and thousands of dollars to improve the air systems.

Spearman said they are encouraging school districts to use the new federal funds coming into the state for things like this. Schools have until 2023 to spend the money.