As student safety is a priority as schools and universities prepare to reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic for a new academic year, guidelines on the operation of HVAC systems to mitigate airborne transmission of the coronavirus have been updated by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Epidemic Task Force.

Checklists are included to help facility managers, school districts and service providers prepare educational buildings to resume occupancy, covering such topics as starting up HVAC systems as well as checks and verifications to maintain during the academic year. The guidance is intended for designers involved in retrofitting and planning for improved indoor air quality and to stem virus transmission via HVAC systems.

The guidelines address determining building readiness, new/modified facility design recommendations, filtration upgrades, operations of occupied facilities, controlling infection outbreak in school facilities and higher education facilities recommendations. System-specific checks and verifications are detailed for boilers, air cooled chillers, water cooled chillers, cooling towers and evaporative-cooled systems, steam distribution systems, HVAC water distribution systems, pumps, air handling units, roof top units, and unitary and single zone equipment.

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