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73 rooms among 7 Oʻahu schools have higher levels of carbon dioxide

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons
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The state Department of Education is continuing to monitor air quality in classrooms after a study found nearly 1,200 classrooms had limited air ventilation.

Out of those classrooms with poor air ventilation, 73 had higher levels of carbon dioxide — which can cause drowsiness or headaches.

Central air conditioning caused carbon dioxide to be circulated in classrooms at seven Oʻahu schools: Kauluwela Elementary, Keone‘ula Elementary, McKinley High, Pu‘uhale Elementary, Royal Elementary, Mililani High and Mililani Middle.

The department says it is continually monitoring air quality in classrooms, but didn’t have data for full classrooms until this week.

Assistant Superintendent Randy Tanaka says measures are already in place to improve air quality.

"We have the devices like the purifiers and the box fans already at the school level. So the mitigation steps are all in place. What we want to do now, and we’re focused on the most immediate need of 73 classrooms to really get data with occupied rooms. We’ve been out in the field watching that carefully. Some are actually doing better than we thought," Tanaka told HPR.

Superintendent Keith Hayashi says the department will post updates on the air quality of classrooms on the DOE website.

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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