Hillsborough County Public Schools is in the process of upgrading air filters on all campuses to a MERV 13 rating.

As local students prepare to return to school later this month, Hillsborough County Public Schools (HCPS) is working to make classrooms safer with new, upgraded air filters.

“Hillsborough County Public Schools continues to invest in the safety of its students and staff by upgrading air filters on all campuses to a MERV 13 rating, which can help reduce the impacts of COVID-19 within our schools,” said Tanya Arja, HCPS chief of communications. “The CDC and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has recommended school districts across the nation install these upgraded filters as students return to the classroom.”

According to Arja, Superintendent Addison Davis announced this upgrade earlier this month along with district partners as HCPS works to evaluate the high-level functional performance of the ventilation systems in schools and administrative buildings.

“The health of our students, teachers and staff has always been the priority since the beginning of this pandemic. These upgraded filters are in high-demand across the nation, and because our team has been forward-thinking throughout this situation, we are now able to provide filters for each of our schools. I want our families to know we are taking every step possible to create a safe environment as our learners prepare to return to the classroom,” said Davis.

In addition to the filter installation, engineers will assess indoor air quality, ventilation, temperature, humidity, mechanical systems and domestic water following CDC, ASHRAE and OSHA guidance to help mitigate the spread of viruses and bacteria. Engineers are also conducting an assessment of indoor air quality along with CO2 sensor accuracy and exhaust fan operations.

“I am proud that our long-term partnership with the district regarding energy efficiency will now include upgrading filtration systems for each campus. Our goal has always been to help Hillsborough County Public Schools to provide the most comfortable and safe learning environment for students and teachers. By installing MERV 13 filters, this district becomes the state leader in this arena,” said Mike Grabham, vice president of McKinstry.

More than half of schools will be converted to MERV 13 filters by Monday, August 24, with full installation in all schools set for completion by Thursday, October 1.

To learn more, visit www.hillsboroughschools.org.