School District First to Achieve UL-Verified Ventilation Marks
SafeTraces, a market leader in the performance testing of HVAC and air cleaning systems, announced that Clark County School District (NV) became the public school district to achieve the UL Verified Ventilation & Filtration (VVF) annual verification mark within its facility portfolio.
The fifth largest public school district in the US with 374 schools and 315,646 students, CCSD had seven schools within its Transformation Network, consisting of elementary school serving students in need of intensive support, earn the coveted UL VVF mark, joining healthy building leaders including Goldman Sachs, Novo Nordisk, and Waymo.
Launched in March 2022, UL Verified Ventilation & Filtration is the first and only performance-based assessment and rating program for the level of pathogen protection provided by HVAC and air cleaning systems in public buildings. The program requires a comprehensive building-level desktop audit and measurement and verification of HVAC and air cleaning system performance in high occupancy building areas via SafeTraces' veriDART biotechnology-enabled performance testing and analytics platform. The UL VVF annual verification mark is awarded to buildings that satisfy performance requirements linked to CDC health-based ventilation targets and ASHRAE building standards for the control of infectious aerosols.
Driven by the COVID pandemic and its aftermath, US public school districts have confronted major challenges with respect to student attendance, enrollment, and performance. Chronic absenteeism, defined as when an enrolled student misses 10 percent of the school year, almost doubled across the US between 2018-19 and 2021-22. Nevada had the fifth highest chronic absenteeism rate in the country, increasing from 19 percent to 36 percent during this period. Studies have shown that children who miss more school get significantly worse grades, with these effects exacerbated by poverty levels and race. Moreover, chronic absenteeism has negatively impacted school budgets, which are linked to student average daily attendance levels (ADA).
However, studies have demonstrated that improved ventilation, filtration, and indoor air quality reduces illness-related absences, with schools that combined better ventilation with filtration seeing 48 percent fewer COVID cases as well as improved academic performance, discipline rates, and reductions in respiratory health issues such as asthma.
"We are extremely proud to become the first public school district in the nation to earn the UL-SafeTraces Verified Ventilation & Filtration mark," says Lori Olson, director of environmental services at CCSD. "This achievement demonstrates Clark County School District's leadership and commitment to ensuring a healthy learning environment for all of our students, teachers, and staff. Moreover, it is one of the best and smartest investments that we can possibly make to improve student attendance, enrollment, and performance in order to ultimately deliver on CCSD's mission and strengthen our foundation for the future."
"Led by Lori Olson and her team, CCSD's achievement of the UL VVF mark sends a powerful message to public school districts across the country about the fundamental importance of indoor air quality and pathogen protection to a healthy learning environment," says Erik Malmstrom, SafeTraces CEO. "Public school facilities are fully capable of meeting health-based ventilation standards with strong leadership and will, and without necessarily entailing significant cost and disruption. Other public school districts should follow CCSD's inspiring example. And our society should hold our school facilities to a higher standard and support them to do achieve this standard."