Build downdraft paint booths for K-12 schools?

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.)

12 thoughts on “Build downdraft paint booths for K-12 schools?

  1. The New York Times is on the case. As of this morning, new studies show that children harbor the virus in large amounts. In fact, the younger they are the more dangerous – hundreds of times more dangerous.

    “Infected children have at least as much of the coronavirus in their noses and throats as infected adults, according to the research. Indeed, children younger than age 5 may host up to 100 times as much of the virus in the upper respiratory tract as adults, the authors found.”

    Read it all. They’ll never go back.

    • You can’t win, Philip. All of this has been gamed out. The world has had 6 months to do this research, but it’s very important that it be done right now – just as the schools are figuring out what they should do for the fall.

      Here’s the paper:

      “I’ve heard lots of people saying, ‘Well, kids aren’t susceptible, kids don’t get infected.’ [“I read it on that Greenspun blog!”] And this clearly shows that’s not true,” said Stacey Schultz-Cherry, a virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.”

      Jason Kindrachuk, a virologist at the University of Manitoba, said: “Now that we’re rolling into the end of July and looking at trying to open up schools the next month, this really needs to be considered.”

      Intrigued, she called the hospital lab on a Sunday and asked to look back at test results for the past several weeks. “It wasn’t even something we had set out to look for,” she said.

      “We are going to be reopening day care and elementary schools,” she said. If these results hold up, “then yeah, I’d be worried.”

  2. Arizona hospitals did AC like this a few months ago to create enough safe ICU space. See below.

    I suspect cutting 32 kid teaching class rooms into 4 groups of 8 kids separated by clear shower curtains would work just fine. This would drastically reduce risk and provide separation for everyone including teachers. But like you have discussed this may not be enough for the Teachers Union.

  3. How many billions of trillions would that cost? The Powell would surely print another $8 trillion to fund the project, driving the cost up a few more thousand percent.

  4. The fear is not of getting the virus from the students, but from administrators, other teachers and other school staff.

  5. If you can’t send ’em to camp, you sure as hell can’t send ’em to school:

    “A Summer Camp Took Almost Every Precaution. The Majority of Kids Still Got COVID-19.”

    597 kids went to an overnight camp in Georgia for a week and 76% of them came back positive for COVID. This is hot news in the Daily Beast (it’s linked on Drudge) but here’s the paper – at the CDC.

    “A line list of all attendees was obtained and matched to laboratory results from the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System and data from DPH case investigations.”

    [Aside: has anyone ever heard of anything that sounds more evil than the State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System?]

    They didn’t wear masks!

    “Camp A adopted most† components of CDC’s Suggestions for Youth and Summer Camps§ to minimize the risk for SARS-CoV-2 introduction and transmission. Measures not implemented were cloth masks for campers and opening windows and doors for increased ventilation in buildings. Cloth masks were required for staff members. Camp attendees were cohorted by cabin and engaged in a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including daily vigorous singing and cheering.”

    Looks like it’s time to get rid of Governor Kemp for allowing this to happen. Stacey Abrams would never have let those kids get COVID-19.

    • By the way this story has been picked up by almost every major news outlet in the country including NYT, CNN, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution, which says that Kemp’s office has not returned a call for comment.

      The camp was YMCA Camp High Harbour.

      Here’s where this story gets really interesting. Apparently people took notice of Camp High Harbour back in June. There was an outbreak there, which totaled 85 cases by July 10. At that point the camp was on the radar screen and it looks like a special effort was undertaken to learn all the names of the kids who attended, so they could be tracked in the state database mentioned above, which resulted in the paper by the CDC. The AJC article mentions this guy, Brian Castrucci:

      “Brian Castrucci, CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation, a Maryland nonprofit that assists public health agencies and a former epidemiologist in Georgia”

      He’s worked for the Daily Beast before, with Soledad O’Brien, to produce “America is Burning.”

      What I wonder is: how did they “obtain” a list of all the attendees at the camp and who gave them the authority to look up their health records in the SENDSS system?

    • Thanks for the link to the actual paper. That’s always better than a BS news report. The key issue missing from the paper is the effects of the COVID-19 “attacks.” COVID-19 shouldn’t be treated as Satan, an essentially demonic force that transparently signals evil. In a rational world, what should matter is effects. So how are the kids now?

  6. And as to your aside, men do all kinds of crazy things that women won’t do, at a highly disproportionate rate. Dangerous, difficult and painful stuff for dubious rewards. Nobody knows why.

    Since there’s no difference between men and women, it must be the patriarchy.

  7. Tomac had previously won Motocross championships but this year was his first AMA Supercross title, as the oldest rider ever to win one at age 27, in a COVID-empty stadium in Salt Lake City. He was also the first father to win a Supercross title — on Father’s Day.

    Supercross = Stadiums. Motocross = Outdoor tracks.

    By the time a Supercross rider is 27 and still hasn’t won a title, a lot of people consider them to be “over the hill.” This is a quintessentially Deplorable sport, by the way. Tickets to the events are modestly priced. The people who show up drive pickup trucks and listen to country music. They don’t mention the winners on NPR. Lots of these kids start out riding minibikes on the farm in flyover country, and COVID has robbed them of the crowds this year. The coastal elites can’t wait until they can be legislated out of existence and the crowds never return to the stadiums. They’re such destructive people, especially to the environment.

    From the post-race winner’s reception:

    Zach Osborne:

    “I feel amazing. That was a good race for all three of us [sponsor names]. I Actually lost a side panel about 6 minutes ago, so I was done if Jason didn’t lose a seat there, so I got a little bit lucky, but it feels amazing to get some results here at the end of the season for my team and I have to give it up to the good Lord for keeping me safe. I had a BIG one [crash] in practice this morning, basically missed the whole second practice, and that’s normally a game changer on race day, but I was able to turn it around. We lost a really valued co-worker at Husky yesterday, and this one’s for him.”

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