Last updated March 3, 2023
Available languages: Español
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s (CDPHE) Clean Air for Schools program provides free high-efficiency particulate air filter portable air cleaners (HEPA PACs) and associated supplies to K-12 schools (public, private, charter, parochial, facility, and Tribal schools) and licensed early childhood education (ECE) providers (licensed daycares, child care facilities, preschools, and HeadStart programs). Schools should apply by March 31 to ensure timely delivery of the air cleaners.
The program’s goal is to improve schools’ indoor air quality as a mitigation measure for exposure to respiratory viruses such as COVID-19, flu, and RSV, as well as other pollutants and pathogens that contribute to asthma, allergies, and other chronic respiratory illnesses.
CDPHE contracted with Carrier West, the Colorado-based partner of Carrier Corporation, to distribute HEPA portable air cleaners and associated supplies, such as replacement HEPA filters, to schools throughout Colorado. Delivery, installation, and follow-up support are included at no cost to schools. Carrier West will perform phone and email outreach to schools directly on behalf of the program.
Learn more about receiving free HEPA portable air cleaners for your school on Carrier West’s website.
Watch the informational presentation above to learn more about how Clean Air for Schools works.
Frequently asked questions
All public, private, charter, parochial, facility, and Tribal K-12 schools, as well as licensed daycares, child care facilities, preschools, and HeadStart programs, can apply to the Clean Air for Schools program. CDPHE will prioritize working with school districts that rate high on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) and then focus on other factors within those districts to determine need. These may include infrastructure age, location, access to other funding resources, and other pollutant factors.
HEPA portable air cleaners combine a powered fan system with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, which is at least 99.97% efficient at filtering respiratory droplets and particles that could be carrying COVID-19, influenza, RSV, or other airborne pathogens. HEPA PACs provide a mobile, effective, and efficient option to clean air in spaces where there is risk of viral transmission. In addition to reducing the risk of COVID-19, flu, and RSV, HEPA PACs can be effective at reducing indoor concentrations of other air pollutants that can contribute to asthma, allergies, and other respiratory health issues, such as wildfire smoke, vehicle emissions, and industrial pollution.
CDPHE will provide Carrier’s Room Air Purifier XL models or another approved model with equivalent features if demand exceeds our capacity to provide the RMAP XL. CDPHE’s subject matter experts selected this model because it met rigorous technical specifications for filtering airborne particles, quiet operation, and flexibility in placement within classrooms.
In order to make it easy for schools to use and maintain their HEPA PACs, CDPHE will provide necessary supplies, including surge protectors and two years of HEPA filters, as well as instructional information and materials at no charge. These supplies will help ensure that operating the HEPA PACs during school hours will not disrupt normal classroom activities by taking up power outlets needed by teachers.
The HEPA PACs operate between 28 and 56 decibels depending on the fan speed — about the same volume as an air conditioner or refrigerator. Teachers and staff can adjust the fan speed as necessary to reduce disruptions to classroom activities. When possible, teachers and staff should operate the HEPA PACs at the highest fan speed that will not disrupt classroom activities to ensure they are effective at filtering classroom air.
School personnel with decision-making authority may apply, i.e. a principal. If you are a parent/guardian/caregiver, teacher, nurse, staff member, student, or another member of a school community interested in this program, contact your school’s leadership to let them know.
Currently, Clean Air for Schools is only able to provide Carrier RMAP XL units and replacement filters specific to those units. CDPHE selected this model because it met rigorous technical specifications for filtering airborne particles, quiet operation, safety, and flexibility in placement within classrooms.
We recommend schools consider enrolling to receive new HEPA portable air cleaner units through our program to supplement their existing air cleaning technologies and/or to replace aging PAC units or those that may have been purchased a few years ago. CDPHE follows the EPA’s recommendation for using mechanical air filtration over other portable air cleaning technologies. According to the EPA, HEPA-based filtration technologies are safer and more effective than portable air cleaner technologies like ionizers, UV, and other ozone-generating devices.
Yes. Licensed daycares, child care facilities, preschools, and HeadStart programs can apply to receive HEPA portable air cleaners.
Email any questions about the program to the CDPHE Clean Air for Schools team at CDPHE_CleanAir4Schools@state.co.us.
This program is supported by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $173,450,305 with 0% percentage financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC, HHS, or the U.S. Government.