HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The schools in Holyoke received funds to improve the air quality to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

The City used $950,000 CARES Act funds to install Carrier OptiClean HEPA air filtration machines in 385 classrooms, cafeterias, gyms, and other academic locations last week.

According to a news release sent to 22News from Holyoke Public Schools, Holyoke has one of the highest rates of pediatric asthma in Massachusetts. The HEPA filters are proven to filter allergen particles.

“I want to thank Mayor Alex Morse and his team at City Hall for using CARES Act funding to
make this important investment in HEPA technology to improve the air quality in our HPS
buildings,” Holyoke Public Schools Superintendent/Receiver Dr. Alberto Vázquez Matos stated.
“This has provided the opportunity for us to upgrade our existing HVAC (Heating Ventilation Air
Conditioning) systems, bringing them into the 21st Century. We are grateful to have these
HEPA air filtration machines that have been recommended by leading health experts like
Harvard University’s Joseph Allen, coauthor of Healthy Buildings. We appreciate Mayor Morse
and City Hall’s continued support as we work together to provide a safe and healthy learning
environment for our students and staff.”

The facilities team at Holyoke Public Schools have been working to maintain and improve air quality, cleaning and disinfecting.

“We have taken advantage of a once in a lifetime opportunity to invest in our students and
educators. This investment through CARES Act funding outfits every classroom in the District with advanced HEPA air filtration units, which supplements a lot of the proactive and preventative modifications that have already been made to improve indoor air quality in our schools. We have also taken this opportunity to provide City Departments with OptiClean HEPA filtration machines in 52 various locations throughout the City,” Mayor Alex B. Morse said.

The air quality was also improved by installing ionizers in rooftop HVAC units, purchasing high-efficiency MERV pleated air filters, and restoring and repairing over 160 windows.