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Back to School? Preparing Kids For The Possibility Of Returning To In-Person Classes

2 minute read

Back to School is not Back to Normal

For many kids, back-to-school shopping is one of their favorite times of the year: picking out new school supplies and new clothes and getting ready to see their friends every single day. But this year, back-to-school shopping has a different feel to it. With the COVID-19 pandemic still an issue in the United States, what exactly will this new school year look like?

While the decision on sending kids back to in-person schooling is up in the air and will vary in different parts of the country, now is the time to start preparing for what that might look like in the fall.

Tips for In-Person Schooling

Here are some tips to help you prepare your kids for their return to an old, yet new, environment.

Be Informed

There are a lot of rumors and misinformation circulating. It’s important to know the facts and get them from reliable sources like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

Be Honest

Your kids are going to have questions–lots of questions. But it’s important to filter their intake of news or social media. Encourage them to come to you with their questions and concerns and be as honest as possible with your answers. There are still so many unknowns, but according to the Child Mind Institute, keeping your kids in the dark will actually cause them more worry and anxiety. Keep the information you share simple and true.

Be Safe

We are always reminding kids “cover your mouths” and “wash your hands”, but right now it has to be more than a suggestion. Teach your kids how to properly wash their hands and practice it often. Demonstrate how to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Actively remind them not to touch their nose, mouth, and face. Teach them how far six feet is with real objects; stand on opposite ends of a yoga mat or hold one end of a dog leash and spread out until it’s taut. And, if appropriate for the age of your kids, ensure they wear a mask when necessary.

Teach these practices out of safety and not fear. The goal isn’t to make kids afraid of other people, but rather to instill in them a sense of responsibility when it comes to keeping themselves and others safe as they go back to school.

Be Alert

The CDC asks that you monitor your health and your child’s health daily. Watch for fever, cough, sore throat, or other symptoms of COVID-19. If symptoms develop, follow CDC guidelines and err on the side of caution.

Be Available

It’s a time of uncertainty, but one thing is for sure: kids will follow the tone you set for this upcoming school year. Stay as calm and as positive as possible when talking with your kids about going back to school. Most importantly, stay engaged with your kids as they head back or do their schooling from home. Regularly check in with their mental and emotional states to ensure that every part of their lives stays healthy.

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Preparing for Back to School: What You Can Do to Keep Your Kids Safe

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Preparing for Back to School: What You Can Do to Keep Your Kids Safe article.

With the 2021 school year fast approaching, what should parents and students prepare for when it comes to safely returning to the classroom?

While the 2020 school year was marked by several transitions between remote and in-person learning as COVID-19 infections fluctuated, most states are committed to in-person education this fall.

Reopening schools to in-person learning is a priority for many individuals, while some will prefer to continue with remote learning for a variety of reasons. Crucial to both approaches is ensuring a safe environment for all.

If your child will be back among their teachers and classmates full time, read on to learn about factors you can consider to keep them healthy and on track with their education.


Vaccines are now approved for everyone 12 years and older. Make sure to talk with your doctor about the right decision for your child and their environment.

If your child is under 12 years old and unable to be vaccinated right now, note that most children who are infected with COVID-19 experience relatively mild symptoms, like runny noses, congestion, coughs, or fevers.

While few children require hospitalization to recover from COVID-19, they are capable of spreading the disease to other groups more likely to see serious symptoms like the elderly and the immunocompromised.

Most severe cases of COVID-19 infection are in unvaccinated people.


In a reversal of earlier guidance, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now recommend that teachers, students, and support staff should wear masks for indoor learning, regardless of vaccination status. The group emphasizes that when teachers and students who are not fully vaccinated wear a mask, they are helping to protect themselves and those around them.

Mask mandates will vary from state to state, and from school district to school district. While you can’t necessarily control what everyone does at your child’s school, if you and your child would feel safer with them masked up, you can make sure they have a reliable supply of masks to use throughout the school day.

Additionally, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) supports in-person learning and recommends masking for everyone over the age of 2, regardless of vaccination status.

School Guidelines

State and school officials will likely have the final say on what the in-person learning environment looks like. As a parent, you can stay informed on what goes into their decision-making process, and decide what’s best for your child. Every school district should be taking into account these factors when setting guidelines and mandates:

The AAP also urges school administrators to analyze the CDC’s guidelines for building ventilation, testing, quarantining, cleaning, and disinfection.

school air quality

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School Air Quality Solutions for In-Person Learning

2 minute read

School Air Quality Matters Beyond COVID-19

Students, teachers, and parents are gearing up for in-person schooling. They enter another unpredictable school year; however, there is a way to take control of this volatility.

Using engineering controls to monitor and implement school air quality measures can make a positive difference in the performance, happiness, and health of both students and teachers. Poor school air quality can lead to more absences and subsequently, poorer academic performance.

Many school districts made substantial upgrades to their facilities by installing high-efficiency air filters, ventilation systems, and air purifiers during the spring and summer of 2021. These facility upgrades were included as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations for reopening schools. The national public health organization has advocated for returning to in-person school.

Air Quality Can Help With Mental and Physical Stressors

Amidst a global pandemic that is leaving students both mentally and physically ill, improving a school’s air quality is a worthwhile investment. Schools host a large group of people with various health issues who are interacting in close quarters for long periods of time

For students and teachers who have lingering pulmonary and cardiovascular issues, these school air quality implementations help establish a safer and healthier environment by reducing dangerous airborne contaminants that can trigger respiratory issues like asthma attacks and allergic reactions.

Room Air Purifiers and Natural Ventilation Provide Localized Solutions

While schools work to make HVAC system improvements for better IAQ throughout the building, room air purifiers can be used in individual classrooms for a localized solution. Using Aprilaire room air purifiers in the classroom can help in capturing harmful particulates. Other options include opening up windows, as long as the air quality is good. Poor outdoor air quality due to car pollution, wildfires, and other natural disasters can make opening windows a nonstarter so it’s important to monitor air quality through the Air Now tool. 

Room air purifiers and natural ventilation can also work for students heading off to college for the first time. Both solutions can limit exposure to airborne viruses and odors because just like in a classroom, dorm rooms and floors are a small space that host a multitude of interactions with various people. 

Upgrade School Air Quality with Aprilaire

Click here to purchase an Aprilaire room air purifier for the student, teacher, or administrator in your life. See the difference Healthy Air by Design can make.

American Lung Association

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Breathing Healthy Air: Interview with the American Lung Association

4 minute read

At Aprilaire, we encourage breathing Healthy Air because we know it benefits your overall health. The American Lung Association knows it too. That’s why Aprilaire air filters are the National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association*, playing a key role in the fight to improve lung health and prevent lung disease.

We got to interview National Senior Vice President of Development Sally Draper about the importance of Healthy Air and how both Aprilaire and the American Lung Association are working together to help you Breathe the Fullness of Life.

Could you introduce yourself for the readers and tell us about why you chose a career with the American Lung Association?

“I joined the Lung Association in 2014 because I was attracted to its comprehensive mission—to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Every day we help Americans breathe easier through our efforts to fund innovative research, advocate for policies that protect our lungs, and educate patients, caregivers, providers, and the public with science-backed information. We were founded more than 115 years ago, and the needs are greater today than ever before, including the youth vaping epidemic, climate change, and COVID-19!”

Can you tell us about the American Lung Association’s mission?

“The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. Our work is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; champion clean air for all; improve the quality of life for those with lung disease and their families; and create a tobacco-free future. Whether it’s searching for cures to lung diseases, keeping kids off tobacco, or advocating for laws that protect the air we breathe, the work of the American Lung Association helps to save lives every day.”

How did Aprilaire and the American Lung Association come to work together in the first place? What does that relationship look like presently?

“Aprilaire and the American Lung Association forged a new relationship in 2018. We quickly realized how much we had in common. Our partnership was developed as we saw an opportunity to educate and help more consumers improve the air in their homes to create a healthier environment.

Since 2020, Aprilaire has been a Proud Partner of the Lung Association with its 4” residential air filters. Additionally, Aprilaire joined the Lung Association as our FY20 National Fight For Air Climb Partner For Healthy Air. The company has also supported the Lung Association’s “Stand Up For Clean Air” campaign. As part of this initiative, we are driving conversations around air quality, climate, and health. The Lung Association invited people to share their #MyCleanAirStory—knowing that when people realize climate and air quality are impacting the health of their neighbors, friends, and loved ones—they are more willing to act. Aprilaire provided prizes for the #MyCleanAirStory contest, including one grand prize of a whole-home Indoor Air Quality upgrade (the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™) and nine Aprilaire Room Air Purifiers. This year, the company stepped up once again to sponsor the Wisconsin Fight For Air Climb in Milwaukee. Also in 2021, the Lung Association welcomed Dale Philippi, President and CEO of Research Products Corporation, Aprilaire’s parent company, to the Lung Association’s Wisconsin Leadership Board of Directors.”

Tell us about the Fight For Air Climb.

“The American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb is the nation’s premier stair climbing challenge. At 38 events nationwide, children and adults of all ages participate in this celebratory stair-climbing adventure. Pre-pandemic, the Fight For Air Climb was held in several of our country’s most iconic skyscrapers. This year, the Lung Association invited participants outdoors for a one-of-a-kind adventure to support healthy lungs and clean air. In fact, Dale was among the company’s team of more than 50 employees that climbed the stairs at Milwaukee’s American Family Field on May 22nd, proving he puts his feet, time, and talent behind causes he supports.

Aprilaire has been a stalwart partner in the Fight For Air Climb, promoting the event to employees, customers, trade partners, family, and friends. Through this unique vehicle, the company is engaging individuals of all ages to understand and celebrate the importance of Healthy Air.”

Aprilaire’s air filters are a National Proud Partner of the American Lung Association. How do you feel our mission aligns with yours?

“Our CEO, Harold Wimmer, has said, ‘Breathing should not be an uphill battle, but for many it is… no one should have to fight for air on a daily basis.’ Similarly, Dale has declared, ‘We believe everyone deserves to breathe Healthy Air.’ As a National Proud Partner, Aprilaire’s mission to enhance everyone’s health by improving the air in their homes aligns very closely with that of the American Lung Association, champion of clean air for all.”

What are the benefits of breathing Healthy Air and what are everyday things that people can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life?

“Clean air is essential for healthy lungs. The American Lung Association works to ensure that the air we breathe is clean and safe from harmful pollution. In fact, every year we publish our State of the Air Report, which looks at two of the most widespread and dangerous air pollutants, ozone and fine particulate matter. Our 2021 State of the Air Report found that more than 4 in 10 Americans—over 135 million people—are living in places with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution.

One of the most important things you can do to Breathe the Fullness of Life is to keep sources of pollution out of your home. Check out these commonsense tips on Additionally, ventilation helps reduce indoor air pollution, but it works best if paired with keeping known sources of air pollution out of the building. For tips on how to use ventilation to protect your lung health, check out our section on Ventilation: How Buildings Breathe.”

Fight for Healthy Air

At Aprilaire, we believe everyone deserves to Breathe the Fullness of Life, and we’re not the only ones that feel this way. Through our Proud Partnership with the American Lung Association, we aim to fill every home with Healthy Air. Both Aprilaire and the Lung Association believe that breathing Healthy Air should be available to everyone, and maintaining healthy Indoor Air Quality is an important step for your lung health. Read more about our partnership and the efforts of the American Lung Association on their website.

*Disclaimer: The American Lung Association does not endorse any product, device, or service.

St. Vincent de Paul

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2021: Aprilaire’s Good Neighbor Values

2 minute read

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We take the importance of caring for others to heart at Aprilaire. We believe we have a purpose beyond the individual work we do and that being a successful company also means “Being a Good Neighbor.” It’s one of our core values, and something we put into action each year.

We remain committed to helping our local communities in a number of ways, including financial contributions and volunteering. In the past, we’ve raised funds to provide pack-n-plays to mothers in need, volunteered at local blood drives, and held various donation drives throughout the year.

While our partnership opportunities may look different in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re excited to continue our work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, whose mission statement reads:

“A membership organization, the Society began working in Madison in 1925 with two parish-based groups of members serving their neighbors in need. Today, programs the Society operates in Dane County include a large customer-choice food pantry, a charitable pharmacy, storage for the goods of persons who are homeless, seven thrift stores offering direct charity, housing at Port St. Vincent de Paul and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton House, and several other forms of assistance for people struggling with poverty.”

We’ve been working with St. Vincent de Paul – Madison since 2014, giving us a number of incredible opportunities to give back and live out our mission of being Good Neighbors.

We believe the work they’re doing to provide assistance for our community is more important than ever right now, which is why it’s our honor to be a 2021 Platinum Sponsor for St. Vincent de Paul’s 6th Annual Care Café fundraising breakfast on May, 5th 2021. The theme is “Love Made Visible.”

They’re going virtual this year, which means they have unlimited capacity to reach their goal of $140,000. If you live in Dane County, we encourage you to attend the virtual event and support our neighbors in need through your contributions to the food pantry, free pharmacy, and housing programs.

 Click here for more information on St. Vincent de Paul – Madison to see how you can get involved.

Or find a charity in your area that you may be able to connect with to make an impact.


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Experts Say Flights Can Resume, But Bring Increased Risks

2 minute read

Air quality experts say that it is safe to resume flying, but travelers must take advanced precautions before traveling like taking shorter flights when possible, wearing masks, and social distancing. 

In an opinion piece for The Washington Post, Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, makes the case that airplanes do not make you sick. In fact, airplanes have comparable levels of air filtration and fresh air ventilation to a health care facility

Flights May Be Less Comfortable With Recommendations

He argues that airlines should continue disinfecting high-touch areas such as armrests and tray tables, stop in-flight food service, mandate mask-wearing, and ask patrons to keep their above ventilation fan on throughout the flight. While these adjustments make flying less enjoyable, they can help reduce in-flight virus transmission. Masks are currently required on public transportation. 

Allen is not the only one saying it is safe to resume flying. 

‘Safer Than Eating At A Restaurant’

Linsey Marr, an engineering professor at Virginia Tech, in a CNN article writes, “When HEPA ventilation systems are running on a plane and everyone is masked, the risk of Covid-19 is greatly reduced and makes air travel on a big jet safer than eating at a restaurant.”

Activities Create Biggest Risks

She and Allen argue that the biggest risks in airline travel stem from activities like the pre-flight boarding process or when a flight is delayed and people are stuck on the plane. Marr, who has been wearing an air quality monitor when she travels, said CO2 levels are elevated during these aforementioned activities and are indicative of a lack of fresh air ventilation. 

Marr told CNN that “A CO2 (carbon dioxide) level of 3,000 ppm means that for every breath I take in, about 7% of the air is other people’s exhaled breath…like drinking someone else’s backwash!”

The airport also presents other problems for travelers.

Allen suggests airports create more touchless experiences, upgrade their HVAC system, and require masks. Some updates have already been implemented in some airports or will be implemented in the future. 

Other experts suggest carrying your own personal hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and sticking to shorter flights

Even though there are risks to flying, Marr and Allen say you are clear for takeoff this summer