MPS Building Report Details Air Quality Improvements, Challenges

MEDFORD, MA — A report compiled late last month and released by the Medford Public Schools Friday shows the improvements done to the HVAC systems in school buildings, as well as some of the air quality challenges the district faced. Workers were onsite last week addressing what the district called “long overdue” repairs to the HVAC systems at its schools. There were enough areas within each school that met, or exceeded, the increased air quality standards to accommodate the return of high needs and kindergarten students.

The MPS report specifically pertained to Cohort A, or the district’s high-needs student population. The district measured air exchanges per hour (ACH) and deemed rooms underneath that threshold unfavorable.

Medford High School

Data showed favorable air quality in the third floor of the B building, or the science labs wing, which was extensively renovated over the last several years. Students in Cohort A, who would ordinarily have been located elsewhere, were temporarily relocated to that area.

Three rooms were temporarily closed:

  • Lecture Hall 2 (1.67 ACH)
  • Room 314 (3.82 ACH) (in proximity to other rooms but not currently passing, HVAC vendors are inspecting)
  • A206 Mock apartment room (2.76 ACH)

Testing is ongoing at Medford High School.

Curtis Tufts High School

CTHS does not have an HVAC system and is an outlier among the air quality reports. The actual ACH noted in the report is 0.0 as the only method of circulating fresh air possible at

CTHS is through open windows. Windows in each CTHS classroom have been opened (with new screens installed in the last several weeks).

In addition, on the advice of the engineering experts, two fans have been installed in each classroom, which are pointed both in and out of separate windows. This method of air circulation is estimated to create an ACH rate that exceeds 4.0.

A similar set up has been provided in the restrooms and additional sanitation services (hourly) are being undertaken as an added safeguard.

The science lab and weight room were temporarily closed.

Andrews Middle School

AMS had a relatively small number of rooms that did not meet the 4.0 ACH standard, but

they correlated with those scheduled to house programs supporting students in Cohort
A. A limited number of temporary dislocations were necessary.

Three rooms were temporarily closed:

  • Room 122* (2.59 ACH)
  • Room 312** (3.41 ACH)
  • Room 306*** (3.44 ACH)

McGlynn School

As of Sept. 27, the HVAC system supporting the cafeteria was still under repair, but improvements had been made to the air flow of the restrooms. Several rooms needed to be relocated for Cohort A at the middle school level. A second report was conducted Sept. 29.

Ten rooms were temporarily closed:

  • 327* (0.0 ACH)
  • 225** (0.3 ACH)
  • 227*** (32.6 ACH) – Need to retest as unlikely a 32.6 is being achieved in this one room.
  • 133**** (2.0 ACH)
  • Guidance 1st Floor (1.7 – 3.5 ACH) – Some areas temporarily closed in suite.
  • 325****** (2.4 ACH)
  • 147******* (2.5 AH)
  • 149^ (3.9 ACH)
  • 151 ^ (2.6 ACH)
  • 139^^ (3.0 ACH)

Brooks Elementary School

A number of programs will need to temporarily relocate. Some will need to open windows in order to meet the heightened standard in the short term.

Eight rooms were temporarily closed:

  • Room 405
  • Room 314
  • Room 307
  • Room 109
  • Room 106B
  • Room 106C
  • Room 106D
  • Cafe office

Two rooms were relocated:

  • Room 200 (ACH 11.6) (nursing suite relocated to parenting room pending arrival of HEPA filters)
  • Room 312 (ACH 6.6) relocated school counselors to art room for group programming

Columbus Elementary School

Repairs were done last week to the exhaust fans that will bring HVAC systems online. A limited number of rooms have been temporarily relocated and one isolation room that is used with only 1-2 individuals at a time is experiencing increased sanitation services.

Seven rooms were temporarily closed:

  • Room 208 (ACH 0.5)
  • Room 402 (ACH 0.8)
  • Room 406 (ACH 1.5) (small ensemble)
  • Room 407 (ACH 2.0) (small group)
  • Room 408 (ACH 0.0)
  • Room 415 (ACH 0.0)
  • Room 416 (ACH 0.0)

Roberts Elementary School

The report expressed some concern about the return of kindergarten students Monday. At the time, the HVAC systems supporting the kindergarten areas were offline. Work was done the week of Sept. 28 and additional testing was recommended after Sept. 30.

Three rooms were temporarily closed:

  • Kindergarten classrooms (104, 108, 110)

The district expects to release updated information this week. Click here for the full report from last week.

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