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School Improvement Solutions Leveraging ESSER Funding

Over $29 billion in stimulus funding for schools in our five-state region – but it won’t last forever.

Since the pandemic began, the federal government has made $29.7 billion in funding available to schools in the New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and New York regions to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment.

Schools can use this funding in a variety of ways, including:

  • HVAC systems
  • Air Purification solutions
  • Social Distancing technology
  • Occupancy Counting technology
  • No Face Mask Detection technology
  • Thermal Temperature Sensing Cameras
  • Public Address and Mass Communication systems

But the funds have a time limit – they expire starting in 2022.

So, how do you move forward quickly yet strategically? Read on!

ESSER Funding 101

The Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund was established and expanded via three pandemic-era stimulus bills passed by the federal government. These funds are accessible primarily via your local educational agencies — states and districts.

ESSER funding can be put towards upgrades to the building including:

  • Filtration, ventilation, purification, and other air cleaning systems.
  • Inspections, testing, maintenance, repair, and replacement of aging building controls and HVAC systems.
  • Technologies related to temperature scanning, occupancy counting, access control, and HVAC systems.
  • Energy performance contracting and modernization services that increase financial flexibility for upgrades.
  • Any other improvements that “enable operation of schools to reduce risk of virus tranmission and exposure to environmental health hazards, and to support student health needs.”

How to Prioritize What’s Needed

Choosing between the best solutions for your facility can be overwhelming. There are two primary paths forward. They can be used in combination or individually:

HVAC System Strategy

This approach focuses on the HVAC system for air purification and/or system upgrades. Modernizing HVAC and building systems improves indoor air quality (IAQ) and energy efficiency in the future. This provides an added benefit of downstream cost savings from these efficiency improvements, which will free up funding for future projects.

Occupant Technology Strategy

This approach emphasizes occupant communication and control.  Options include temperature sensors, mask detection, social distancing tracking, occupant counting and public address/ mass communication systems. Employing smart occupant technology enables future deployment of related systems which might piggyback on the new infrastructure, such as vape detection technology and surveillance systems.

Solutions to Investigate

HVAC Upgrades

As buildings age, they need ongoing maintenance and upgrades to maximize their performance, including filtration, ventilation, and purification enhancements, as well as equipment repair and replacement.

Air Purification

Leverage Bipolar Ionization Technology to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) to reduce the spread of airborne pathogens. Benefits extend beyond mitigating viral spread, as there is an established scientific relationship between poor IAQ and lower student performance on cognitive tests.

Social Distancing Technology

Monitor social distancing violations automatically by measuring the distance between people. Isolate high-violation zones and times in order to identify opportunities for improvement.

Occupancy Counting Technology

Monitor and manage occupancy rates by counting the number of students and staff members in a specific area of the campus in order to support social distancing. Enable optional app integration for real time reporting to users, such as availability of seats in a dining area or space in a fitness center.

No Mask Detection Technology

Automate the detection of students and staff who are not wearing face masks. Real time alarms enable building administrators to take corrective measures quickly.

Thermal Temperature Sensing Cameras

High-throughput, contactless cameras are a compelling alternative to traditional, individual screening methods and enable proactive identification of elevated temperatures at entrances for preventative protection.

Public Address and Mass Notification Systems

Mass notification systems can quickly direct students from an infected area and communicate schedule and systems changes to on-campus and remote students. Digital displays and pre-recorded messages can consistently reinforce COVID protocols and encourage social distancing.

The CM3 Advantage

CM3 Building Solutions is uniquely qualified to help with your assessment process. Because we install, integrate, and service virtually every building system technology, our Technical and Engineering Team can help you objectively analyze which technologies are most appropriate for your individual facilities.

And, because we have been serving the educational community for nearly forty years, we understand the daily and longer-term challenges of balancing occupant comfort and safety with cost and building efficiencies.

We also provide a single point-of-contact for your entire project and coordinate installation regardless of how many systems are impacted. This simplifies the management on your end, so you can focus on other priorities.

Please reach out for a consultation.