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Chicago area students join nationwide push to bring more clean air into schools

Air monitors installed at two Western Springs schools to teach kids about air quality
Air monitors installed at two Western Springs schools to teach kids about air quality 01:20

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Warmer temperatures and rising carbon dioxide levels have been pushing air pollution indoors we've been experiencing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, but one company is trying to make a change, starting with schools in Illinois.

It's part of a partnership between the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and digital data company Attune.

With help from students, air monitors were installed at McClure Junior High and Forest Hills Elementary School in Western Springs, kicking off a years-long air monitoring project with schools across the U.S.

"We selected an elementary school and we selected a middle school just to introduce them to what's in the air around them, why the air quality is important, and give them an idea how much time they spend indoors, and that's why it's really important for them and how it affects their performance in their school, and how it can affect their exam scores and all of that," said ASHRAE member Sumayyah Theron, who is also director of sustainability at Cyclone Energy Group.

The monitors can detect carbon dioxide, ozone, and other particles that could carry pathogens like COVID-19

The next step is teaching kids how to monitor the air quality data online. An annual report will also be shared with parents.

McClure principal Laura Broadnax said the data will help them better adjust their school's ventilation.

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