reopening public schools

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Reopening Public Schools Means Facing Air Quality Issues & HVAC Upgrades

2 minute read

Many reopening public schools throughout the country are making marked improvements to the air quality inside their buildings, but many still face an uphill battle. 

A US Government Accountability Office report from June 2020 found that four in 10 schools needed HVAC upgrades. As many schools start to reopen, teachers and board members are requiring improvements to their school’s Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). 

While many schools are still behind, one of the benefits of the lockdown is that public schools have been able to upgrade their old or inefficient HVAC systems helping reduce absences and improve productivity. 

IAQ Upgrades at Home

You can make IAQ improvements at home as well to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as your child returns to in-person schooling. You can have Aprilaire IAQ products installed in your home, including the Aprilaire Healthy Air System™, to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 inside your home. Contact a Healthy Air Pro today to inquire about the benefits of Aprilaire products for your home. 

Reopening Public Schools In The News:

Bad Air Quality Days

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

Keeping Your Kids Healthy, Cool, and Happy on Bad Air Quality Days

2 minute read

Click play to listen to the Keeping Your Kids Healthy, Cool, and Happy on Bad Air Quality Days article.

We hope you’re enjoying as much time outdoors as you can this summer! The extended sunshine hours and long list of activities offer plenty of reasons to have the whole family outside.

But the summertime can also force you indoors. Poor air quality days can result from things like unsafe temperatures, high allergy counts, smog, and other adverse weather events.

Keeping air quality in mind is especially important for kids, as they will more quickly feel the effects of allergens, pollution, and extreme heat.

Let’s look at some ways you can create fun, safe indoor activities this summer when the outdoors are a no-go.

Tips for Entertaining Kids on Bad Air Quality Days

Indoor Exercises

Help your kids burn off some energy with games and fun exercises indoors. Try out a dance party to their favorite music, or set up an obstacle course in the living room.

A classic game of hide-and-seek is another perfect way to pass the time and get some exercise.

No-Heat Cooking

If it’s hot and muggy outside, you probably won’t want to turn on the oven or stovetop. There are lots of great no-bake recipes out there that are kid-friendly.

Some of our favorites include: fruit popsicles, fruit and cheese kabobs, and pinwheel sandwiches.

Field Trips

Staying indoors doesn’t always have to mean staying cooped up at home.

Take the kids for a field trip to a museum or aquarium. These spaces are typically air conditioned and large enough to keep a comfortable distance from others who are also escaping the heat.

Science Experiments

Fun and education can go together. Try out some simple science experiments like tabletop volcanoes and DIY lava lamps.

We also have some recommendations for simple demonstrations of staying healthy that kids can understand and enjoy.

Optimizing Indoor Air

When you’re staying indoors to escape the unhealthy air outside, you need to be proactive about keeping your home environment safe.

The Aprilaire Healthy Air System™ is a three-part approach to Indoor Air Quality. It combines fresh air ventilation, air filtration, and humidity control to keep your home fresh for all your indoor adventures this summer.

Invest in greater health, virus protection, fewer allergens, more productivity, and better sleep.

Learn More

Use our Find A Pro tool to get started today.

Healthy Air Is on the Way

Find an Aprilaire professional near you.

summer camps

AA Homepage Articles | Family |

What to Know About Reopening Summer Camps

3 minute read

Click play to listen to the Reopening Summer Camps article. 

Is your kid eager to get out of the house this summer?

As the United States begins to reopen, thanks to vaccinations, there are more and more opportunities to enjoy summertime favorites. For many, that means a trip to summer camp.

While parents and kids, alike, are excited for the return of traditional summer activities, you may still have questions about the safest ways to approach them.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest guidance.

Is It Safe?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has updated its recommendations for summer camps after confirming that COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective for everyone aged 12 and older.

The big takeaway is that summer camps are safe, and don’t require masking or physical distancing if everyone at the camp is vaccinated.

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also released guidelines, and emphasized the social importance of the summer camp experience for children.

During the summer, it is important that children begin to reestablish connections with their friends, peers, and non-parental adults in an environment that supports their development while also consistently practicing the recommended principles to limit the spread of SARS-CoV-2.”  – AAP

Here are the crucial recommendations from the CDC to ensure a safe summer camp experience. You can confirm with your child’s camp that these measures are taken prior to the start of activities.

  • For camps where everyone is fully vaccinated prior to the start of camp, it is safe to return to full capacity, without masking, and without physical distancing in accordance with the CDC’s Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People; except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations.
  • Although people who are fully vaccinated do not need to wear masks, camp programs should be supportive of campers or staff who choose to wear a mask.
  • Consistent and layered use of multiple prevention strategies can help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and protect people who are not fully vaccinated, including campers, staff, and their families.
  • Campers should be assigned to cohorts that will remain together for the entire camp session without mixing, to the largest extent possible. A “cohort” means campers and staff who are staying together in a cabin, bunkhouse, or similar defined space.
  • Outdoor activities will generally be the safest, though most indoor activities are also safe when all are vaccinated.

How To Prepare Your Child

For many children, it’s been a while since they’ve interacted with a large group of their peers. It’s possible they may feel intimidated by the summer camp experience, or a bit wary of having close interactions after more than a year of limited contact with others.

Start by having a conversation with your kids about what they can expect at camp, and emphasize that it’s alright if they feel overwhelmed and need to take a break from the activities.

Kids should also know that, even if they don’t need to wear a mask or socially distance, it’s perfectly fine to do so if those things make them more comfortable. Camp counselors should make an extra effort to accommodate the safety and comfort of each child to ensure a positive summer camp experience.

Other considerations:

  • If it’s safe for your child, get them a vaccine. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose.
  • Follow the CDC’s guidance for travelers before dropping off your child.
  • Ask your camp about plans and protocols for testing and contact tracing.
  • Send along hand sanitizer and extra face masks with your child. The camp may provide these supplies as well.
St. Vincent de Paul

AA Homepage Articles | News |

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.

AA Homepage Articles | News |

Experiencing the Fight For Air Climb

2 minute read

Before the Fight For Air Climb

Entering the US Bank Center for the American Lung Association’s Fight For Air Climb was a rush of energy.

This seemed less like an arduous trek up 1,000 stairs and more of an indoor festival. There were volunteers ready to greet you and pump you up for the ensuing climb and people from different companies sitting at tables ready to hand out souvenirs.

They were probably also there to distract you after you just got done instinctively looking up toward the top of the 47-story US Bank Center in downtown Milwaukee becoming a little uneasy at the prospect of your journey upward.

Before you made your climb, you gathered as a team and took several escalators down to the basement level before getting warmed up with a quick aerobic routine. Then you took a long and winding tunnel where you greeted by more volunteers who were cheering you on. It was hard not to feel inspired and excited.

During the Fight For Air Climb

One-by-one people took off up toward the top of the US Bank Center to begin their Fight For Air Climb. I, like most, started off confidently and quickly. I took the first six flights easily, but then by flight eight, I began to fight for air. I now understand why they title this climb just that. My mind and my body were at odds. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to continue at the same pace to get it over with as quickly as possible or to slow down and feel better. I went with the former.

Everyone in the stairwell was trudging onward with the same dilemma. We all were gasping for air as we kept pushing up each step and each flight toward the top of the Fight For Air Climb. At several points, I wondered if I was actually making any progress.

Every 10 flights there was a group of volunteers handing out cups of water and words of encouragement. Both were sorely needed to help push me along.

With each passing flight, I kept a tally of how many flights I had left. Twenty flights down, 27 more flights to go; 30 flights down, 17 flights to go; Ok, 40 flights down, 7 to go. By the time I got to the 40th floor, I knew I could make the last push to make it to the top of my Fight For Air Climb journey.

After the Fight For Air Climb

Eventually, I reached the top after 9 minutes and 31 seconds. At the top of the stairwell, I was met by volunteers who were cheering me on and by other climbers who were also catching their breath and taking in the picturesque views of Milwaukee and Lake Michigan afforded to us by the tallest building in Wisconsin.

As I grabbed a water and walked around soaking in both the views of the city and my accomplishment, it was really cool to watch teams taking pictures together or greeting other climbers with high-fives and smiles. There was a certain camaraderie found in a common struggle.

Despite the lingering soreness, I cannot wait for next year’s climb. No matter if I beat my time from this year or not, it’s about fighting for air together and helping those impacted with lung disease.

To join an upcoming climb in a city near you, visit www.lung.org/aprilaire.

flights

AA Homepage Articles | News |

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