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Mayor De Blasio Announces Formation Of New School Ventilation Action Teams

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Public schools will be welcoming students and faculty back into the classrooms in less than three weeks. On Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio acted on continuing concerns about the air quality inside the buildings.

The mayor announced the creation of school ventilation action teams, which will be inspecting every single classroom to make sure they are able to maintain safe air quality, CBS2's Hazel Sanchez reported.

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Eight-year-old Ethan Guzman said he loves scooting in the warm summer air, but he's ready to head back to school. He's returning on a hybrid plan that will have him back at PS 128 in Washington Heights a few days a week.

He said it's better to be with his friends instead of looking at them on a computer.

"Yeah, it's boring, kind of," Ethan said.

"I want to send him, but I still have concerns," parent Jaime Guzman added.


Jaime Guzman said his biggest concern is his son's school lacking proper heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems in the classrooms, especially since Ethan has asthma.

"More than half of it don't have HVAC, they have the AC, so they'll have the window open. But that's also a concern," he said.

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On Tuesday, Mayor de Blasio and Schools Chancellor Richard Carranza announced new school ventilation action teams will be inspecting every single learning space in every public school.

"To make sure that every school is ready, the ventilation systems are working, that windows are open, even if they weren't open in the past, because there's nothing as powerful as fresh air when it comes to fighting this virus," de Blasio said.

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The inspection teams, made up of independent ventilation experts and professional licensed engineers contracted by the school construction authority, will make necessary repairs or adjustments to rooms to ensure sufficient air quality, before school starts.

"We have purchased over 10,000 portable air filters for nurses' offices, isolation rooms and any rooms that these inspections reveal need additional circulation. And I repeat, if inspections find that entire school or particular rooms do not have adequate ventilation, then we will not allow anyone to use those spaces until they are made safe," Carranza said.

The Department of Buildings and the FDNY will be helping with the inspections, but Jaime Guzman said he's worried they won't get all the work done on time.

"They should have done this months ago, not less than a month when school's about to start," he said. "When you rush things things don't come out right."

The Department of Education has purchased 10,000 air purifiers that will be placed in schools. In addition, every building will be given a carbon dioxide detection device to routinely measure air quality in classrooms.

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