Unionized American school teachers refuse to work unless they can be guaranteed not to get coronaplague from the students. Words are not going to soothe these concerned souls. “School closures ‘a mistake’ as no teachers infected in classroom” (Times of London, July 22):
Scientists are yet to find a single confirmed case of a teacher catching coronavirus from a pupil anywhere in the world, a leading epidemiologist has said.
Mark Woolhouse, an infectious disease epidemiologist at Edinburgh University, offered reassurance to staff preparing for the full reopening of schools next month.
I predict that this won’t result in a single American school opening up for business as usual. Zero cases is one case too many!
Americans apparently did not like my previous pet idea: “Plague-proof Florida and Texas with shaded outdoor classrooms?”
Thus, it is time for another pet idea! This one comes from the world of aircraft and automobile painting: pull student exhaust air down through the classroom floor. The technology for downdraft paint booths is highly advanced (example). They have been built large enough to paint a Gulfstream. Below are a couple of photos from West Star Aviation, which paints some very big airplanes indeed. At right is your humble author next to some of the air filters, against which coronavirus would stand no chance.
Presumably the airflow wouldn’t have to be as powerful for a classroom as for a paint booth. Air conditioning systems have been implicated in spreading coronaplague among adults, right? Why not a system for schools in which (a) each classroom has its own HVAC system, (b) there are 8-12 outlets in the ceiling, and (c) there are 8-12 exhaust outlets in the floor? For maximum safety, the system would have no recirculation.
(Separately, as long as we’re on the topic of aircraft paint, at West Star I noticed that all of the people working in the 100-degree hangars sanding the paint off jets seemed to identify as “men” while there were folks appearing to identify as “women” working in air-conditioned offices and comfortably sitting in chairs.)