Virginia Investing Resources in Improving School Ventilation and Air Quality

Former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam committed $250 million of state reserve funds to improve ventilation and air quality in public schools, as part of an effort to complete nearly all planned HVAC projects in schools across the state. The Commonwealth is allocating $250 million in federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding for necessary ventilation upgrades, which will be matched by local ARP or other relief funding. A minimum of $200,000 will be allotted to each school district.

We are spotlighting this practice because updating ventilation and improving air quality is a long-term solution that will keep facilities safer. This will be particularly important if new variants of COVID continue to emerge but also will help protect against other airborne illnesses that could disrupt learning in the future.

Reviewer Analysis

The Rural Alliance

Great program. School improvement funds are difficult for small school districts to acquire.

New Leaders

Improving ventilation and air quality in schools will benefit students now and in the long-term. Especially given long-standing inequities in the quality of school facilities, this investment will be particularly impactful if funds are allocated with equity in mind.

EdAllies

This is a valuable investment in health and safety infrastructure for schools. Likely long-overdue.

Southern Regional Education Board

This is a long-term plan to address facility needs. Often the condition of the facility will have an impact on student learning.

The Bush Center

One time system improvement investments are a smart use of these funds.

National Parents Union

This investment is important to keeping students and staff safe and also keeping them in the classroom so that students don’t suffer from learning loss.

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