ASHRAE issues guidelines for re-opening schools


ASHRAE has introduced guidelines on how to re-open schools.

ASHRAE has released a 41-page guideline to prepare educational buildings to resume occupancy. This includes information on starting up HVAC systems as well as checks and verifications to maintain systems during the academic school year. The guidance is meant to provide practical information to school districts and university campus environmental health managers, facility managers, administrators, technicians and service providers.

“As schools prepare to reopen for the fall academic semester, it’s important to keep children and school staff safe,” said 2020-21 ASHRAE president Charles E. Gulledge III, P.E. “ASHRAE’s school reopening guide will serve as a resource to school leaders as they work in lockstep with health experts to finalize plans to keep everyone safe.”

The guide includes the following topics:

  • Determining building readiness
  • Equipment and system-specific checks and verifications during the academic year
  • New/modified facility design recommendations
  • Filtration upgrades
  • Operations of occupied facilities
  • Controlling infection outbreak in school facilities
  • Higher education facilities recommendations

Also included are guidelines to help designers retrofit and plan for the improvement of indoor air quality and to slow the transmission of viruses via the HVAC systems as well as new guidance on student health facilities, laboratories, athletic facilities, residence halls, and large assemblies, lectures and theatres.

“School and university officials are challenged with making very difficult decisions on how to best protect both students and staff as education facilities reopen, said Corey Metzger, ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force Schools Team lead. “This guidance offers a solid framework on ventilation control, filtration and maintenance that can be applied to different climate zones, building types and HVAC systems.”

For the complete ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force school reopening guide and other COVID-19 resources, please visit


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