Air Filtration and COVID Safety

Air Filtration and COVID Safety

Dear UAlbany Community,

Mechanical air ventilation systems have been in the news with reports of COVID-19 virus particles becoming aerosolized and spreading distances greater than originally believed, understandably causing anxiety and concern by many in the University at Albany community as we move ahead to the start of the fall semester. 

Please be assured that the University’s mechanical air ventilation systems provide air quality that meet or exceed COVID-19 safety guidance provided by the State of New York, the CDC, the World Health Organization, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

The recent studies and reports regarding verified aerosolized virus spread have been limited to locations with packed occupancies, for extended durations, with people not wearing masks, and with air systems, if any, that simply recirculate the same air with minimal or no filtration. 

UAlbany’s mechanical ventilation systems, however, are designed to use outside air and to filter recirculated air – vastly different indoor environmental conditions than those causing concern. Any air system alone is not capable of addressing all aspects of infection control, but according to all current guidance, proper ventilation in combination with face coverings, physical distancing, and hand washing, will create an indoor environment with low risks for COVID-19 spread. 

Additionally, we’re taking steps to modify our 234 mechanical ventilation systems, where necessary and practicable, to increase the amount of outside air ventilation and to ensure or improve filtration of recirculated air. We are also providing portable air filtration units to meet air quality standards per the guidance sources above to address deficiencies in communal spaces in selected locations on the Downtown Campus.

The University’s engineers, building operations, and maintenance professionals have been on campus every day since the statewide shutdown and have been intensely involved with all current and emerging matters of COVID-19 safety planning and implementation.

Additional information regarding mechanical ventilation measures is provided on the UAlbany Facilities website.

Sincerely,

Todd Foreman

Vice President for Finance and Administration