The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district is continuing efforts to create a safe environment in their facilities as students and staff continue returning to school.
One such measure was taken during the April 12 board meeting in which trustees approved the purchase of an additional 800 air purifiers, which will be installed at campuses and facilities in the next three months.
“We think it’s super important to insure the safety of all our employees and our students as we continue to increase the number of students on our campuses,” PSJA Superintendent Jorge L. Arredondo said. “This is another layer— another safeguarding measure of having air purifiers installed in all our remaining campuses district-wide.”
The district has invested over $1 million in air purifiers, including the 600 units purchased and installed in the fall of 2020. The district will begin installing 800 iWave-C Commercial IAQ Ion Generators, 400 iWave-R residential air cleaners, and 45 iWave-M 18 flexible air purifiers.
“They consistently have shown to significantly reduce pathogens,” Arredondo said. “Along with all the other safety measures that we’re taking, we think this will help assist our families to safely return and bringing their students back to campus so they can continue learning in-person.”
Arredondo explained that the air purifiers are connected to the H-VAC system. Close to two-thirds of the buildings have already been installed with the air purifiers. He said that the recent purchase of additional units will insure that all classrooms and office areas throughout the district will be covered by the air purification system.
The purchase coincided with the district’s next reopening phase, which saw more students return to campuses for in-person instruction on April 19. The superintendent said that the district plans to have all buildings installed with the air purifiers in anticipation for more students in the summer and the fall.
“Right now what we’re doing is providing as much incentives to our students to continue to get in-person instruction,” Arredondo said. “This week we went up from 10% to 18%, and by the end of the week we were close to 21%. We think those numbers will continue to increase as the vaccine is more available to more individuals. We’ve vaccinated more than 21,000 individuals here in the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo community.”
He also said that roughly 90% of district staff have been vaccinated, and the district is currently providing the vaccine to 12th grade students who are eligible.
“We believe that as we continue to lead the way in ensuring that the vaccine is available to our community, that will further increase the opportunity for parents to feel safe about having their children in in-person instruction,” Arredondo said. “We continue to follow all the safety guidelines. We think that’s super important. We appreciate everybody’s patience as we continue to work with the community to provide the vaccine, to provide quality instruction to all our students. Together we will continue to make progress.”