Funding for school facility improvements a requirement for safe reopening

Elizabeth Beardsley is the senior policy counsel at the U.S. Green Building Council. Scott Brown is president of the National Council on School Facilities. Mary Filardo is chair of the 21st Century School Fund, [Re]Build America’s School Infrastructure Coalition. David Terry is executive director of the National Association of State Energy Officials.

Before the pandemic, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated a stunning 41% of America’s school districts needed to replace or update heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in at least half of their schools  representing 36,000 schools nationwide.

During the coronavirus pandemic, these building systems have become essential in helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, yet the focus has been on masks, cleaning, spacing of desks and other steps. School facilities also require attention, and right now, they are not ready to welcome back students, teachers and staff.

Public health experts from the Centers for

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