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Hays CISD will invest $4.4M in air purifiers for all campuses

The district will begin installing the air purifiers based on COVID-19 cases, starting at elementary schools.

HAYS COUNTY, Texas — The Hays CISD board of trustees has voted to invest a lot of money to fight COVID-19 in area schools. 

The school district said it is still negotiating with a company to determine the best price. According to Community Impact, the board unanimously approved allocating $4.4 million for air purifiers for all campuses. 

The purifiers will be paid for using Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds granted through the Texas Education Agency

"We're already leveraging our filters through our regular AC system," Hays CISD Chief Operations Officer Max Cleaver said. "A combination of the kill technology and the capture technology that's already in our air conditioning system is the combination we think may be the best."

The district will purchase approximately 1,800 purifiers after tests can be run in actual classrooms to determine their effectiveness, as the district hasn't yet determined the testing protocol.

Once the purifiers have been purchased and received, Hays CISD will begin to install them based on COVID-19 cases, starting at elementary schools, then middle schools and then high schools.

The school district said it plans to install purifiers at Tobias Elementary first. The elementary school campus was closed in September due to COVID-19 cases. 

Hays CISD expect the new units to be installed by winter break.

Community Impact reports that Trustee Courtney Runkle said she voted yes not specifically because of COVID-19 but as a way to keep students as healthy as possible in classrooms. 

Despite voting to allocate the funds for the purifiers, Community Impact reports that trustee Willie Tenorio, Jr. said the most effective way to combat COVID-19 is through a mask mandate and he thinks it would be more cost-effective and beneficial for the district to issue a mask mandate. Hays CISD has not had a mask mandate in place at all this school year.

As of Oct. 5, there have been 752 cumulative student COVID-19 cases reported in Hays CISD and 131 cumulative staff COVID-19 cases.

Read Community Impact's full report.

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