School District Blocks Use of Air Purifiers in 100-Year-Old School Despite Protest From Angry Parents

Older schools are likely to have poor indoor air quality due to older construction materials, how they were built and high levels of carbon dioxide due to students breathing same air for extended periods of time in rooms with limited air circulation. Poor air quality has been linked to decreased concentration levels in students, lower academic performance and higher absenteeism from allergies and asthma. Research has also shown that COVID-19 is spread through airborne transmission.

LAVAL, Quebec, July 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- With mask mandates and other COVID-19 prevention protocols now lifted in schools, proper ventilation including the use of portable HEPA air purifiers remain one of the few ways to stem COVID-19 transmissions.  Air purifiers can also remove other pollutants such as mold, wildfire smoke, and chemicals including formaldehyde. In September 2021, Airpura, a Canadian air purifier manufacturer launched a Back-to-School contest asking the public to nominate a school they felt deserved to win air purifiers for all of the school's classrooms to help address these air quality issues.

The CTS-PAC (Cloverdale Traditional School- Parent Advisory Council) at Cloverdale Traditional School of Surrey, British Columbia mobilized the community by getting them to vote for their 100-year-old school and the school ended up winning the grand prize.

The win was short-lived when the school district vetoed the use of air purifiers in the classroom saying the air purifiers were unnecessary because they had recently upgraded the building's HVAC systems which they claim met the district standards for health and safety. In order to filter COVID-19 and other viruses efficiently, the US EPA* has recommended that HVAC systems include filters with a MERV rating of least 13 and higher. The school only upgraded the gymnasium with MERV-13. The classrooms had HVAC systems that were not sufficiently protected having a MERV rating of only 11.

"To meet and exceed air quality standards, it would have been more efficient and less expensive to retrofit most classrooms with air purifiers. In general, it is less expensive to do this to all schools instead of retrofitting ventilation systems."

Helder Pedro, President of Airpura

A district spokesperson, Ritinder Matthew said that the air purifiers were not approved because of the potential for UV air purifiers to emit by-products such as ozone. However, Airpura air purifiers do not emit any ozone and to bolster this fact - Airpura air purifiers are CARB-certified.

The CTS-PAC lobbied the school district and the following Members of Legislative Assembly to overturn decision. At the end of the school year and after the COVID-19 wave, the members officially said no to the air purifiers.

Hon. Harry Bains

Jinny Sims
Jagrup Brar
Mike Starchuk
BC Minister of Education: Hon. Jennifer Whiteside

"We are truly disappointed at the school district's decision but have to respect their decision." 

Statement issued by CTS-PAC

The parents have decided to donate some of the unused air purifiers to families of students with health conditions. The rest will be raffled off to families. The funds from the raffle will be used to finance activities for the school.


Airpura is a Canadian company focusing on pathogen and chemical control over the past two decades. SARS-CoV-2 Is the fifth pathogen that Airpura has addressed with their air filtration systems. Throughout the pandemic, Airpura air purifiers have been deployed In hospitals, schools, dental clinics and workplaces across the world. Airpura also manufactures air purifiers for wildfires, chemical abatement, allergies and mold.

Press Contacts

Stacy Singh, Communications and Media Relations 1-866-505-7872 ext 208

Helder Pedro, President of Airpura 1-866-505-7872 ext 202

Related Images

Image 1: Parents of Cloverdale Traditional School Distribute Airpura Air Purifiers to Needy Families

Happy student at Cloverdale Traditional School receives an Airpura air purifier

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Parents of Cloverdale Traditional School Distribute Airpura Air Purifiers to Needy Families