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Monday, December 5, 2022

What’s the hottest new back-to-school accessory right now? A monitor for air quality

A portable carbon dioxide monitor was one of the items Lizzie Rothwell, an architect based in Philadelphia, included in her son’s blue L.L. Bean bag when she sent him off to third grade this autumn.

With the gadget, she could quickly determine how much fresh air was circulating around the school. Her son’s chances of becoming sick from the coronavirus were reduced because of the low CO2 levels, which indicated that it was well-ventilated.

The CO2 levels in the cafeteria increased to almost twice that advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) during lunch, as she found very fast. She informed the principal of her findings and requested that pupils be permitted to eat in the open air rather than in the classroom.

Mother Rothwell is one of an increasing number of parents who are smuggling CO2 monitors into schools in an attempt to ensure that their children’s learning environments are as safe as possible for them. Customers have increased in number since the beginning of the new school year, according to Aranet, which manufactures a popular monitor among parents.

In some cases, school districts have included the monitors as an official component of their pandemic preparedness plans. The gadgets have been given to every public school in New York City, and the British government has declared intentions to do the same in their country.

Parents in other parts of the world, on the other hand, are taking things into their own hands, smuggling in monitors — which may cost hundreds of dollars or more — into their children’s backpacks or trousers pockets.

According to Dr. Alex Huffman, an aerosol scientist at the University of Denver who has sent the monitors to school with his children, the devices, which can be programmed to take readings every few minutes, work best when exposed to open air. However, they can still generate useful data if they are not completely sealed away, he says.

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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