The Board of Education met Monday night for Gibraltar School District to hear a presentation from Johnson Controls on new technologies available that reduce COVID transmission. Director of Learning Tim Mulrain says there are several possible options. The first is to increase circulation using the building’s existing HVAC unit. That is expected to lead to additional wear on the ventilation system, which would decrease its useful life. Especially during winter, the temperature of outdoor air will need to be modified significantly before it can make its way into classrooms or offices, and that stands to create a hefty heating bill.
Options two and three involve new HEPA filters and bumping up the building’s relative humidity. Ultraviolet light scrubbers were also included in the presentation, along with what Mulrain feels is the most effective technology.
Johnson Controls says that the new air filter system reduces airborne COVID-19 molecules by as much as 90 percent. It is being installed in colleges and other academic settings in addition to county courthouses and government facilities. Mulrain says the system is also part of the HVAC unit for the Fiserv Forum, home of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Gibraltar plans to be flexible for the beginning of the academic year, transitioning between in-person instruction, a hybrid model, and remote learning as conditions dictate. COVID-19 activity levels in Door County have fluctuated between moderate and high since the beginning of July.