CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois will distribute more than 60,000 HEPA purifiers to schools across the state to help reduce transmission of respiratory viruses, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced Thursday.
The IDPH is using $29.6 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, provided by the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
The state said it will target school districts that serve lower-income communities, and counties with elevated air pollution counts.
“There is nothing more important to me than keeping Illinoisans safe and healthy—especially when it comes to our youth,” said Governor JB Pritzker.
“We know that our children need to stay healthy and study in classrooms that are well-ventilated in order to thrive and succeed. Thanks to this $30 million investment, schoolchildren will experience cleaner air—preventing illness and absenteeism, while improving our children’s ability to think and learn.”
IDPH is launching an enrollment process in coordination with ISBE through which schools can submit orders for portable HEPA air purifiers.
The administrators of eligible school districts will be contacted directly with information about how many purifiers that their districts are eligible to receive.
The portable air purifiers will be delivered to school districts in the coming months. Schools will generally be eligible for one small air filter unit for each 20 students in a school, with a limited number of larger units for districts with more than 1,000 students.