The Broome County Health Department (BCHD) has taken another step to keep both students and staff of Broome County Schools and licensed daycares healthy and safe.

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With assistance from grant funds provided by the New York State Department of Health - Health Research Inc., BCHD purchased and delivered over 1,300 stand-alone air filters for classrooms.

By placing these air filters in classrooms, potential exposure to airborne viruses, especially during the colder months when viruses tend to spread more, can be reduced significantly.

The air filters provided are medical-grade HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) units designed to eliminate airborne contaminants, including various respiratory viruses. With the existence of a variety of viruses from COVID-19 to RSV and the flu to the common cold during the fall and winter seasons, the BCHD says that these filters will play a vital role in minimizing exposure to respiratory viruses.

Mary McFadden, the Public Health Director, emphasized that in addition to cleaner air, it is vital to participate in practices such as frequent handwashing, vaccinations, and staying home when feeling unwell to maintain a healthy school environment.

READ MORE: Village in Upstate New York Finds E. Coli Bacteria in Drinking Water

Michael Bender, the Broome County Health Department's Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, played a big role in coordinating this distribution effort with schools and daycares, working to not only address the community's immediate health needs but also focus on prevention as a key aspect of public health.

By using technologies like HEPA air filters, the goal is to decrease school absences for both staff and students. This approach highlights the importance of having good indoor air quality to ensure the health, safety, and consistent attendance of the school community.

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Jason VanFossen, the Superintendent for Maine Endwell School District, expressed gratitude to Broome County for their investment in the health and safety of the school community. Reflecting on the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, he acknowledged the critical role played by indoor air quality in promoting a healthy and productive learning environment.

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The structure at Main and Murray streets was constructed in 1922. It was used for a wide range of events for several decades but it has been vacant for many years.

Although the building now is nearly a century old, it appears to be structurally sound. But as our tour this week revealed, plenty of work is needed to bring the place back to life.

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