NYC Approves 4,000 Classrooms For In-Person Schooling Despite Unreliable Ventilation

Part 2 of our look at the city's back-to-school COVID precautions...

✍️: @clewisreports for @WNYC / @Gothamist…
Looking through building surveys conducted by NYC's Department of Education, @jeffwilen found thousands of classrooms have been cleared for occupancy despite relying exclusively on functioning windows for ventilation.

She even made an interactive map.🙏🙌… Image
@jeffwilen Got interrupted mid-thread. Dang work. Let's continue.

Aerosol scientists would probably raise their eyebrows at this part about the classrooms "relying exclusively on functioning windows for ventilation"...…
We write this for 2 reasons

1. @jeffwilen sifted through the DOE's data & found all the "operational" classrooms with only windows, no functioning [window] exhaust fans nor [HVAC] unit ventilators.

2. The city invested in air purifiers for its classrooms that lack HEPA filters.
The CDC's guidance repeatedly calls for the use of portable air purifiers with ***HEPA*** filters in schools and other buildings.

Moreover, the CDC states that ***non-HEPA*** purifiers should be clearly labeled...…… ImageImage
.@NYCSchools has purchased 2 Intellipure air purifiers for every classroom. It has described these devices as "HEPA purifiers," both in its back-to-school handbook (…) and in correspondence.

As we report, Intellipure air purifiers do NOT have HEPA filters. ImageImage
Dr. Richard Corsi (@DeanMCECSPSU) studies indoor air quality as the dean of the Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science at Portland State University

He said purifiers w/o HEPA filters are “largely unproven, and that’s the kindest I could be.”…
Moreover, an independent study of the Intellipure devices by the Illinois Institute of Technology found that it would rank ninth out of 12 products they’ve tested this year in terms air changes per hour (what you need to ventilate a room).…
I've now learned (h/t @didactickatydid) that **a high school paper** in Queens (@thhsclassic) posed similar questions abt @NYCSchools' Intellipure air purifiers.

DOE responded that its purifiers meet CDC guidance/HEPA levels.

Here's how CDC responded:… ImageImage
A quick pause to applaud, @thhsclassic. Strong work, fam!

I came for the fact check on DOE. I stayed for the description of electrostatic precipitation…
Now, I'm threading all of this (instead of relaxing with an episode of BIP) for two reasons:
1. Schools Chancellor Porter is holding a press avail tomorrow where journalists can visit a handpicked school to see safety measures, "with an emphasis on ventilation."

Note: The Chancellor will not be available for Q&A.
2. DOE has been chirping at me ALL DANG DAY with the same exact talking points.

Note: We gave them ample time to respond to both of our stories, contacting them as early as ::checks notes:: Thursday of last week.

Here's Part 1 from Mon. Time for BIP!

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More from @MoNscience

3 Sep
Today @NYCMayor de Blasio told @BrianLehrer that @WNYC/@Gothamist's recent series on ventilation in @NYCSchools is inaccurate

He should read our latest:

NYC Officials Say School Windows Can Always Offer Solid Ventilation. Independent Scientists Disagree…
And as a fun exercise in science media literacy, let's break down the Mayor's response...
Two weeks ago, Brian Lehrer asked @NYCMayor/@BilldeBlasio whether he had heard that the air purifiers @NYCSchools had purchased for every classroom in the city lacked HEPA filters, an industry standard.

The mayor said he'd look into it.… Image
Read 15 tweets
28 Aug
“In addition, the [Intelligence Committee] was able to reach broad agreement on several other key issues. We judge the virus was not developed as a biological weapon…”…
“Most agencies also assess with low confidence that SARS-CoV-2 probably was not genetically engineered; however, two agencies believe there was not sufficient evidence to make an assessment either way.”…
Remember when a major magazine entertained the ideas that SARS2 was a bioweapon or genetically engineered despite scientific evidence to the contrary? Good thing that didn’t happen because it would be pretty embarrassing right now…
Read 6 tweets
23 Aug
Vaccine mandates now that Pfizer-BioNTech is fully approved in U.S...
Pentagon to mandate COVID-19 vaccine for military…
NYC officials said it was a coincidence that its schools' mandate came the same day as full FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine and that they were planning to forge ahead even if the federal decision hadn't come today.…
Read 6 tweets
21 Aug
Every now and again, @NYMag's @intelligencer decides to publish COVID misinformation.

The latest example comes courtesy of @davidzweig and centers around masking for kids.

It makes the same tired arguments that I've been hearing for months now. Let's take a look...
Zweig starts by misrepresenting a single study from Georgia that looked at 90K students/169 schools (…).

He insinuates that the study found no protection with masking for students.

In truth, student masking reduced COVID incidence by 21%...
The trend did not reach statistical significance, and the authors give a logical reason why.

But the trend was still there.

Also, the lack of statistical significance could have been due to the small sample size (only ~80 schools in the groups with/without masking)
Read 9 tweets
30 Jul
“One of the slides states that there is a higher risk among older age groups for hospitalization and death relative to younger people, regardless of vaccination status. Another estimates that there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans”
‘The slide references an outbreak in Barnstable County, Mass., where vaccinated and unvaccinated people shed nearly identical amounts of virus.”…
Read 4 tweets
28 Jul
Here is the issue with Leonhardt’s takes on public health and COVID:

They often misconstrue data, don’t see the bigger picture and can mislead people… (a thread)
First, I’m surprised that anyone (without an agenda) can look at this national map and essentially say “You know what? Some parts of this country are going to be alright.”

I mean, it looks like a scene from the “Floor Is Lava” Image
Second, many counties in the states he mentioned ***DO*** fall in the danger zones or are moving in that direction.

The eastern half of New Jersey, Suffolk County, Mass (home to Boston) and Milwaukee County, Wisc. are either under substantial or high risk. ImageImageImage
Read 7 tweets

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