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Frequent HVAC filter changes combat COVID
McParland School custodian Jorge Rodriguez is shown in January with the Manteca Unified School District’s first delivered Carrier OptiClean unit.

Manteca Unified is not skimping on the HVAC air filters.

Filters in heating and air conditioning units are changed a minimum of:

*Once a month at schools in dust prone farming areas such as Nile Garden and New Haven elementary schools.

*Four times a year at all other campuses.

They are replaced ahead of schedule if issues are found during frequent inspections.

Such an aggressive filter replacement effort coupled with turning HVAC unit fans on an hour before school and an hour after school are additional measure to purge rooms of air particle contaminants.

It also is to assure if individual teachers for whatever reason opt to turn off air scrubbers in classrooms for periods of time or place them onlower settings that there is redundancy built in district protocols to combat airborne viruses as well as dust and other particles that can create health and breathing issues.

Classroom air quality effort is the foundation of the district’s effort to  not just keep COVID-19 cases down but other illnesses  such as flu and colds as well as to reduce asthma and other breathing issues for the district’s 25,000 students and more than 2,500 staff members.

Manteca Unified also has:

*Spent $2.8 million to buy 1,900 Carrier Opticlean Air Scrubbers for every classroom, learning spaces and offices in the district.

*Installed DEPA-6 PROAIR filtration systems in all school buses with a minimum of 12 air changes per hour.

*Modernization projects such as at Manteca High and French Camp School have new ultraviolet lighting in locker-room and restrooms as a supplement to help inactivate airborne contamination of COVID-19.

*Electrostatic sprayers have been obtained for every school site to efficiently and rapidly apply disinfectants to surfaces, especially those contaminated with COVID-19. The devices dispense an electrostatic charge to the disinfectant spray with the goal of improving the deposition of the droplets onto surfaces and promoting the efficient use of the disinfectant.

 The air scrubbers also are effective at reducing airborne germs that cause other illnesses such as the flu and colds.

In addition, given the Central Valley bears the brunt of smoke from wildfires in the Sierra, Coastal Range and Cascades as well as grass fires within the valley they will further protect the district’s 25,000 students and 2,500 staff members against smoke-related breathing issues.

They also help cleanse classroom air of routine air pollutants that plague the San Joaquin Valley.

Between reductions in absences related to colds and flu as well as wildfire issues, the investment in the air quality and air scrubbing equipment will benefit the health of students and staff beyond dealing with the pandemic.

The cornerstone of that effort are the 1,900 Carrier OptiClean Air Scrubber units.

The air scrubber units function as a portable air filtration system that meets and exceeds the American Society of Heating, Ventilation, Refrigeration, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) standard for the ventilation of healthcare facilities which use hospital-grade, high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to further improve indoor air quality.

The filtration unit works by pulling air from the surrounding area which passes through a series of filters to remove many contaminants. The cleaner, fresher air is then recirculated back into the room allowing up to 6 air changes per hour versus the industry recommended 2 changes per hour.  


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email