School District Develops Strategies to Safely Return to School

Facility Infection Risk Estimator™ (Case Study)

In mid-2020, a school district (name withheld) reached out to BranchPattern to help validate their plan for facility readiness, especially regarding indoor viral infection risks in time to plan for a safe return to school.


By first learning how students would return to schools and the policy modifications that would be in place, such as face masks and social distancing, BranchPattern could provide scenario planning using our Facility Infection Risk Estimator™ demonstrating the impacts that different choices can make on the risk of infection.


This scenario planning helped the district understand the relative value of different investment strategies, such as changes in ventilation rates, filtration media, and ultraviolet air cleaners. In addition to running these simulations, validation of the HVAC design was completed for a representative sample of facilities in the district. Both the design review and field assessment of the system configuration identified issues that impacted HVAC system performance.


Based on this guidance, the school district increased filtration efficiency and modified ventilation schedules, increasing the amount of total fresh air provided to their school buildings. Paramount to a successful adoption, BranchPattern worked closely with the school district to provide clear and effective messaging, describing the safety features and general readiness of their facilities to the community.


BranchPattern’s work on this project demonstrates that infection risk simulations are helpful in optimizing the impact of investment on indoor air quality and safety. Simulations provided by the Facility Infection Risk Estimator™ are best used in conjunction with professional engineering services.

For more information about the Facility Infection Risk Estimator™ module, please connect with associate principal, Marcel Harmon: