Sunday, December 5, 2021

Where Was the UFT as NYC Schools Bought Weaker Air Purifiers as Underventilated Campuses Are More Prone To COVID Cases

The New York City public schools that rely solely on open windows and portable air purifiers have seen 23% more COVID-19 cases per students and a 29% increase in staff case rates when compared to buildings with stronger ventilation, such as HVAC systems...New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) got those devices for a bargain,... WNYC/Gothamist asked the mayor’s office, the Department of Education, Delos Living and city councilmembers to explain why Intellipure air purifiers were chosen for schools given these performance issues.... Gothamist

The UFT leadership has been successful in trying to deflect member ire away from themselves and toward the inept DOE. Hopefully articles like this will change, though the report below doesn't ask the UFT for comment. It should have. The info in the Gothamist article was known during the summer in previous WNYC/Gothamist investigation but no action by the union.

...the city purchased two air purifiers for every classroom from a Manhattan-based startup named Delos Living and its upstate partner Intellipure — a choice officials strongly backed ahead of the school year, even though the devices lack HEPA filters, the industry benchmark for air cleaning.

This is a perfect example of the Unity Caucus/UFT leadership laying down on the job when it comes to health and safety of its members and the children they serve.

Here is a clear case of corrupt influence peddling at the expense of UFT member and children.

Kasirer, a Tribeca-based lobbying firm with ties to the de Blasio administration, earned $195,000 for the project between July 2020 and August of this year, the month before classes resumed. Records show this firm led New York City lobbyists in compensation in 2020 — earning about $14 million.

Yet despite the purchase of Intellipure air purifiers for schools, New Yorkers who walk into most city buildings are unlikely to find that brand of purifier humming in the background. City contracts and photos sent to WNYC/Gothamist by city employees across several departments indicate that most offices rely on other brands, all of which use HEPA filters and provide substantially higher ventilation rates compared to the purifiers in city schools. Some were purchased even as the city made new deals with Delos for non-HEPA purifiers, the contracts show.

Lobbying and corruption: But I'd bet air purifiers in the UFT official's offices are not the cheapies. Certainly not in the Mayor's offices:

The mayor’s office, for example, purchased ENVIRCO IsoClean 800 purifiers in April 2021 that were delivered to 253 Broadway, a building across from City Hall that houses multiple divisions of the mayor’s office. A ventilation expert calculated that this model offers five times as much airflow per hour as the Intellipure Compact air purifiers in the city’s classrooms. The city signed two new contracts for Intellipure air purifiers the same month.

The mantra of "everything de Blasio touches turns to shit (except NYC ferry and pre-k) continues. De Blasio also touches the UFT leadership, his partner in so many things --  like taking away retiree medicare, which has also turned to shit.

PS 18K, the school shown below was a school I covered with computer services in the late 90s  and it's a very old school - probably over a hundred years old. Here are more excerpts and a link to the very long and comprehensive article.

Gothamist: NYC Schools Bought Weaker Air Purifiers. Now Underventilated Campuses Are More Prone To COVID Cases

https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-schools-bought-weaker-air-purifiers-now-underventilated-campuses-are-more-prone-covid-cases

P.S. 18 Edward Bush in East Williamsburg, which is among the schools WNYC/Gothamist analysis found had low-ventilation and higher student and staff COVID-19 case rates. Photograph taken November 17th, 2021.
P.S. 18 Edward Bush in East Williamsburg ranked among the top-15 low-ventilation schools, both in student and staff case rates.

 

The findings raise new concerns about the adequacy of dozens of public schools as winter approaches and schools struggle to deal with aging buildings amid the pandemic. The data also suggests that school officials purchased inadequate air purifiers and are over relying on them to help combat the airborne virus -- an issue raised in a previous WNYC/Gothamist investigation.

Starting in summer 2020, the city purchased two air purifiers for every classroom from a Manhattan-based startup named Delos Living and its upstate partner Intellipure — a choice officials strongly backed ahead of the school year, even though the devices lack HEPA filters, the industry benchmark for air cleaning.

In interviews with WNYC/Gothamist, independent engineers warned of relying too heavily on the Intellipure purifiers and open windows, which city officials countered were adequate in reducing the risk of COVID-19 spread.

To learn why Intellipure air purifiers were selected for classrooms, WNYC/Gothamist has discovered that New York City’s Department of Education (DOE) got those devices for a bargain, according to contracts obtained via Freedom of Information requests.

The Intellipure Compact purifier and its replacement filters retail for $549 and $220 each. But the contracts show the city paid between $209 and $390 for the purifiers and as little as $53 for each filter. New York City used pandemic funds acquired from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to buy the air purifiers, according to the contracts.

The city has spent $58 million on the $64 million contracts so far, placing the devices in tens of thousands of classrooms. Those expenses paid for 157,000 Intellipure Compacts, 157,000 replacement filters and shipping costs.

Public documents also show Delos Living launched a lobbying campaign in the summer 2020, as the city made preparations for its first full school year under COVID-19. The effort targeted a broad set of senior officials — from Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to borough presidents and councilmembers.

Kasirer, a Tribeca-based lobbying firm with ties to the de Blasio administration, earned $195,000 for the project between July 2020 and August of this year, the month before classes resumed. Records show this firm led New York City lobbyists in compensation in 2020 — earning about $14 million.

Yet despite the purchase of Intellipure air purifiers for schools, New Yorkers who walk into most city buildings are unlikely to find that brand of purifier humming in the background. City contracts and photos sent to WNYC/Gothamist by city employees across several departments indicate that most offices rely on other brands, all of which use HEPA filters and provide substantially higher ventilation rates compared to the purifiers in city schools. Some were purchased even as the city made new deals with Delos for non-HEPA purifiers, the contracts show.

Students
54
44
Staff
127
98

 read it all: https://gothamist.com/news/nyc-schools-bought-weaker-air-purifiers-now-underventilated-campuses-are-more-prone-covid-cases

4 comments:

  1. Irony that Winex from Costco is $100 with HEPA and extra filter. This was one of the models tested early on in COVID for room air exchange. I bought 4 myself since my room refused to have open windows once it got cold

    ReplyDelete
  2. How many NYC schools do not have windows in classrooms, auditoriums, school cafeterias, and gymnasiums? Full investigation please! How many air purifiers burnt out snd not reported? How many staff putting the air purifiers as well as opening windows first thing when they come into the classrooms? They claim they are cold students are cold.

    ReplyDelete
  3. How many NYC schools do not have windows in classrooms, auditoriums, school cafeterias, and gymnasiums? Full investigation please! How many air purifiers burnt out snd not reported? How many staff putting the air purifiers as well as opening windows first thing when they come into the classrooms? They claim they are cold students are cold.

    ReplyDelete

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