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Virginia plans to invest $500 million to improve school’s air quality

American Rescue Plan
American Rescue Plan(American Rescue Plan, USDA)
Published: Jul. 26, 2021 at 11:54 AM EDT
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HOPEWELL, Va. (WWBT) - Governor Ralph Northam announced plans to invest $500 million to improve ventilation and air quality in public schools by completing all planned school HVAC projects.

$250 million of the funding will come from the federal American Rescue Plan funding and $250 million will be matched in local funding.

Northam’s announcement was made Monday at Hopewell High School.

“Air quality is a key part of maintaining safe and healthy learning environments for our students across the Commonwealth,” said Northam. “This investment will help families, educators, and students feel more confident about the quality of the air they breathe as we return to in-person learning five days a week this fall.”

The Virginia Department of Education analyzed 117 capital improvement plans from school divisions which determined that 463 HVCA projects were needed which is expected to cost $623 million. Today’s investment announcement should cover most of the projects.

“Ensuring there is clean air in our classrooms helps assure staff and students that schools are safe places—so they can focus on learning,” said Virginia’s Secretary of Education Atif Qarni. “We know high-quality ventilation systems reduce the number of virus particles in the air, and this investment means that Virginia schools will have updated HVAC systems for years to come.”

This kicked off Northam’s “Investment Week” where he plans to outline proposals for the use of the $4.3 billion from the American Rescue Plans which will be voted on in a special session starting Aug. 2.

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