Second Mesa Day school buses retrofitted with new filtration system

Second Mesa Day school is improving air quality on its school busses by equipping them with MERV-13 equivalent filtration and UV-C technology, and taking a step toward keeping students and school bus drivers safe by filtering the air on the buses.

Imagine 400 kids packed into a classroom meant for 25 students. That’s what riding on a school bus is, according to Lumin-Air, a company that specializes in increasing effective ventilation in high density areas. “They’re really packed in a dense space and COVID is an airborne virus, like the flu and other things,” said Chief Marketing Officer Jack Fillenwarth. “It can be just passed from student to student if there’s nothing to take the contaminants out of the air.”

Lumin_Air said their product is effective not only against SARS-CoV-2, but influenza and other airborne pathogens. With a focal point of Second Mesa Day School’s mission statement to provide a positive and safe learning environment, Fillenwarth said the school is a leader in making sure the air the students and bus drivers breathe on their way to and from school is clean.

“The way we see it is whatever they do in the school, whether it’s social distancing and spacing, whatever each school does individually, those things are great, but if you then put them on a bus crowded together to go home… it is really the weak link between the community and the school,” he said.

Fillenwarth said the MERV-13 filter is what is recommended for schools, office and government buildings, because it filters 87 percent of the contaminants out of the air as the air passes through them. With the addition of the UV-C technology behind the filtration that kills more pathogens, the clean air is able to circulate throughout the bus and helps the air move.

“The air is changing over in the bus once every minute,” Fillenwarth said.

He said unlike in a plane, where outside air is brought in, the point on a bus is to remove contaminants from the enclosed space and recirculate clean air back on a consistent basis throughout the space.

“Cleaning and filtering the air on our school buses reflects our commitment to keeping our students, bus drivers and our community safe,” said Tonetta Fred, lead bus driver for Second Mesa Day School.

Fillenwarth said there are some technologies that put ions, hydroxyl radicals, gases or harmful chemicals that claim to kill virus or bacteria cells in the air that people breathe. The UV-C is fully contained in an enclosure and safe for occupied spaces.

“We just think this is a safer way to do it and sets us apart from some other technologies,” he said.

Dan Fillenwarth, president and Andrew Desmarais, COO for Lumin-Air were on site for the installation.