Air purifiers: the new COVID-fighting equipment being trialed in schools

With students back in school after summer, concerns about health have resurfaced. Many of the UK’s schools are housed in…

Published: October 6, 2021

With students back in school after summer, concerns about health have resurfaced. Many of the UK’s schools are housed in old buildings that lack suitable ventilation. With the pandemic still affecting our everyday lives, the chances of COVID-19 spreading is a risk that schools will continue to face during autumn and winter.

With this in mind, new research is underway to determine whether air purifiers in schools can prevent the spread of COVID-19. In this article, we discuss how these appliances work, where the trials are taking place, and the potential nationwide rollout in schools.

Air purifiers: how do they work?

Air purifiers work by sanitising the surrounding air. They filter a variety of pollutants, allergens and toxins from the air, as well as eliminating odours. Air purifiers are discreet pieces of equipment suitable for a variety of room sizes, from 10 to 80 square metres. When placed in an enclosed space, they kill airborne and surface bacteria and viruses. This makes them ideal for school washrooms, classrooms or reception areas, for example. These appliances could help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in buildings with larger spaces, such as schools. 

Trials in schools

Thirty schools in Bradford are taking part in a trial conducted by The Centre for Applied Education Research. The aim of the trial is to assess if air purifiers and UV light can help prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in schools. A third of schools will use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters with another third using UV purifiers, and a final third serving as a ‘control’ group for the study. The trial is also seeking to determine how feasible the rollout of these technologies would be in primary schools. 

Future rollout

The Welsh government has already issued a £6 million air technology fund to stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools, colleges and universities. The government has agreed to pay for 30,000 CO2 sensors and 1,800 ozone disinfecting machines. It plans to roll out this new technology during the autumn term. Some schools in Anglesey are already benefiting from the new equipment. 

We can expect to see similar technology implemented across England, if the Bradford trial is successful. The Department of Health and Social Care has backed the trial with £1.8 million in funding. It will also evaluate the results from the study.

Other businesses have also started using air purifiers and UV lights to prevent the spread of COVID-19 this year. More than 200 UV light sanitising devices have been installed on escalator handrails across the London Underground, for example. Air purifiers have the potential to maintain hygienic environments in rooms and spaces that experience a high volume of traffic. Schools can benefit from this technology by introducing them into areas like washrooms and reception areas. As COVID-19 cases continue to fluctuate, equipment like air purifiers could prove a powerful tool for schools in controlling the spread of the virus. 

We can help!

Utility Rentals specialises in supplying equipment to the education sector. Our flexible leases allow schools to access high-quality equipment at a cost they can afford. We’ve worked in this sector for over thirty years, so compliant leasing is also always at the top of our agenda!

Our flexible leases for air purifiers include:

  • Five-year warranty: this includes parts and labour
  • Professional installation: our expert electrical engineers will install all equipment for you
  • Small, fixed rental payments: spread the cost of payments, so your school can benefit from equipment with no upfront expense

If your school is interested in high-performance air purifiers, contact our friendly team!


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