As K-12 school leaders, officials, and stakeholders have kicked off what they hope will be a more typical academic year for 2021-2022, they also recognize that COVID-19 cases are still present in their communities and that this virus, or any other airborne pathogen, can negatively impact student and instructor educational spaces. As a result, and because of the potential to access new Federal and/or State funding opportunities (e.g., CARES Act), Elara Engineering’s K-12 MEPFP Design Team has seen increased interest in strategies and projects to improve ventilation systems and Indoor Air Quality within K-12 educational facilities.
CARES Act Funding Resources
To address questions about funding opportunities through the CARES Act, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Elementary and Secondary Education has issued the following FAQ document regarding Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief (ESSER) Programs and the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund.
Included in this FAQ document are the following two questions:
B-6. May ESSER and GEER funds be used for construction? The short answer is Yes; but qualifiers, restrictions, requirements, and timing constraints that may be applicable at the State level are also described in the FAQ document.
B-7. May ESSER and GEER funds be used for renovation, including for such projects as making improvements to a school facility to improve indoor air quality (such as heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems), and projects that would promote social distancing and safe in-person instruction? Again, the short answer is Yes; but qualifiers, restrictions, requirements, and timing constraints that may be applicable at the State level are also described in the FAQ document.
While some School Districts are electing to utilize their CARES Act funds for short-duration, smaller scale IAQ and ventilation system upgrade projects, others are electing to allocate their funds towards additions and major renovations to reduce the density of students in classrooms. Elara Engineering has seen a large increase in the number of projects being considered and implemented. Specifically, Elara’s K-12 MEPFP Design Team has collaborated with several School Districts in preliminary planning for IAQ/ventilation projects that are now being designed for bid this Fall/Winter for Summer 2022 construction.
More information about our previous and ongoing K-12 projects can be found on our website here.