School ventilation systems

School ventilation systems

Background Information:
A recent King5 News story about school ventilation systems has caused some confusion, so we would like to provide you with more comprehensive information regarding our district’s ventilations systems.
About the data:

  • The state requires school districts to provide information on their buildings and building systems, and then the state gives them a rating. 
  • This rating is referred to as a Building Condition Assessment (BCA) score. The news article pulled scores from OSPI’s Information and Condition of Schools (ICOS) database. 
  • The ICOS rating system under OSPI is a tool to guide capital planning decisions based primarily on age of major systems.
  • ICOS scores are not intended to rate the efficiency level or performance of building systems. 
  • The district provides ongoing maintenance of the HVAC system at all schools on an annual basis, repairing and replacing failing parts and, in some cases, investing in refurbishments of whole portions of a system. Major upgrades and improvements to building systems are funded through voter approved Capital Project Levies.
  • The state’s rating of our school’s HVAC systems does not translate to a rating of indoor air quality at our schools.
  • Any ratings of “poor” is due to age of equipment and does not reflect the functionality of the system.

Our school buildings are safe. We have followed the recommendations from the Washington State Department of Health and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and the Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHREA) recommendations. The following are things we have done to ensure adequate ventilation in our school buildings:

  • Maximized outside air ventilation – fresh air is being maximized by setting all dampers to 100% outside air. A typical classroom provides about 7 air changes per hour. 
  • All buildings flush the air every morning and extended the air flush runtimes by two hours before and after occupancy.
  • Enhanced our filtration systems based on DOH and ASHRE recommendations.

The district proactively analyzes and monitors the HVAC systems through ongoing checks of the building control systems throughout the district to ensure equipment is operating as designed and per the District’s COVID-19 Ventilation Plan. You can learn more here.

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