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COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on the poor ventilation and air quality present in many classrooms and has led to calls for air cleaning technologies (ACT) in schools. However, there is limited knowledge about the practicality of implementing ACT on large scales. 

Classroom Air Cleaning Technologies (CLASS-ACT) assessed the feasibility and effectiveness of using air filters to reduce the airborne transmission of the COVID-19 virus within schools. The study explored factors impacting the implementation of ACT in schools and investigated whether ACT would have an impact on school absences.  An intervention trial was conducted in Bradford primary schools during the 21/22 academic year. This trial identified barriers to use and generated guidance in the effective use of portable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in school settings. 

The study has identified several factors impacting on the effective deployment of ACT including; unit sizing, selection and placement, human operational error, legislative gaps, budgetary pressures, building electrical modifications, and ‘school unfriendly’ unit design. The analysis from this study also showed a significant reduction in illness rates among the schools using HEPA air filters and therefore in illness related absences. 

This work continues and is providing national guidance on ventilation and the use of ACT in classrooms as well as informing government policy on the use of ACT in schools. 

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