penn valley elementary

Faulty HVAC duct may have led to Covid-19 outbreak at Pennsylvania elementary

April 27, 2021
8 second-grade students at Penn Valley Elementary in the Lower Merion district have tested positive for Covid-19

A Covid-19 outbreak in a Pennsylvania elementary school classroom could have been fueled by a faulty air duct,  the Lower Merion school district says.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that eight students in a second-grade classroom at Penn Valley Elementary in Narberth, Pa., have tested positive for the virus in what officials say marked the district’s first instance of significant in-school transmission.

Because of the outbreak, district staff evaluated the classroom’s HVAC system and found that a part within the ductwork above the ceiling “was too far closed, allowing only (approximately) 30% of the maximum amount of fresh air it should have into this specific room,” Terry Quinlan, lead supervisor of school health and student safety for the district, said in an email.

The district “cannot say definitively whether the diminished fresh airflow contributed to the outbreak; however, it could be a factor,” Quinlan said.

The second-grade class members have been quarantined since April 16.

Lower Merion is spacing students at least three feet apart in classrooms. District spokesperson Amy Buckman says she couldn’t comment on whether spacing may have played any role in the outbreak, but noted that distancing was “pretty consistent across all elementary classrooms in the district and this is the only outbreak impacting this number of students that we’ve seen.”

Sponsored Recommendations

Providing solutions that help creativity, collaboration, and communication.

Discover why we’re a one-stop shop for all things education. See how ODP Business Solutions can help empower your students, school, and district to succeed by supporting healthier...

Building Futures: Transforming K–12 Learning Environments for Tomorrow's Leaders

Discover how ODP Business Solutions® Workspace Interiors partnered with a pioneering school system, overcoming supply chain challenges to furnish 18 new K–12 campuses across 4...

How to design flexible learning spaces that teachers love and use

Unlock the potential of flexible learning spaces with expert guidance from school districts and educational furniture providers. Discover how to seamlessly integrate adaptive ...

Blurring the Lines in Education Design: K–12 to Higher Ed to Corporate America

Discover the seamless integration of educational and corporate design principles, shaping tomorrow's leaders from kindergarten to boardroom. Explore innovative classroom layouts...