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'This is good news': Alberta approves $6M for HEPA filters in Edmonton Public Schools

Students and teachers in Edmonton Public Schools will soon have cleaner air to breathe, after Alberta approved the use of $6 million to buy new HEPA air filters.

The board made the request earlier this month, in an effort to slow airborne COVID-19 spread in its 213 schools.

"This is a huge relief for us," board chair Trisha Estabrooks said as she announced the development at a public meeting on Tuesday.

"I can see it on the faces of my colleagues as well as our superintendent. This is good news and I would like to extend my thanks on behalf of the board of trustees and our administration to the minister of education."

"We’re expecting to receive those units within a two-week timeframe," Superintendent Darrel Roberston said.

"We will distribute and install those units across the division as quickly as we can through our maintenance folks."

High-efficiency particulate air filters help clean the air of bacteria and other airborne particles, and Estabrooks previously said that the investment will be beneficial post-pandemic as well for things like wildfire smoke.

In January, the school board promised to increase filter changes, maximize fresh air intake and install MERV-13 or better filters wherever possible.

At the time, some parents and advocates were asking for those systems to be upgraded to HEPA, arguing the filters provide an added layer of protection that will help them feel more comfortable.

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Kyra Markov Top Stories

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