What’s the cost of keeping classrooms clean?


When students return to the classroom, how much will it cost to keep that classroom clean? There has been a lot of concern over the expense necessary to upgrade air filtration and ventilation systems in schools, especially in older buildings.

“There’s a lot of confusion among school administrators as to what the right answer is,” said Dr. Richard Corsi, Dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering & Computer Science at Portland State University.

But on KCBS Radio’s “Ask An Expert” program Friday, Dr. Corsi said it does not take much.

“A good portable HEPA air cleaner that has a clean air delivery rate of about 300 cubic feet per minute – which is quite good for a classroom that’s 600 or 700 square feet – it’s gonna cost you about $250.”

And the energy to run the air cleaner is only an extra $30 for the entire school year.

“If you break that down, the cost per student is, you know, two grande frappuccino’s per student per year,” he said.

Dr. Corsi says deploying a portable air cleaner to each classroom is a more attainable and realistic risk reduction measure than some of the other strategies he has seen.

“I see schools buying technologies that are a waste of money, that are ineffective. I see schools telling me, ‘well CDC doesn’t emphasize ventilation so why should we increase ventilation?’”

But at such a relatively low cost, when combined with other common sense protocols like masking and distancing in the classroom, Dr. Corsi said it is an easy way to make a big impact.