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The Minnesota Senate Education Committee has approved a bill that would require school districts planning new classroom construction or renovation to follow guidelines set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for classroom acoustics.

If the bill becomes law, it would require newly constructed schools to have unoccupied classrooms with a maximum background noise of 35 decibels and reverberation time of 0.6 to 0.7 seconds.

The standards developed by ANSI are voluntary unless they are incorporated into regulations, as Minnesota is attempting to do. The U.S. Access Board, responding to a complaint from the parent of a student with a hearing disability, worked with the Acoustical Society of America to establish standards for classroom acoustics.

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