IDPH launches program to distribute air purifiers in schools

Several high capacity HEPA filters have also been installed in the shelter. Newberry is hoping these added precautions will bring volunteers back to PADS.

Gov. JB Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health have announced that the state is launching a $29.6 million program to distribute more than 60,000 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) purifiers to Illinois schools to help reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19.

IDPH is coordinating the program with the Illinois State Board of Education. The program is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 and is targeted for school districts that serve lower-income communities and counties that have elevated air pollution counts. IDPH estimates almost 3,000 schools will be eligible for the program, covering 68% of school districts in the state. It will cover schools throughout the state, including Cook County, with the exception of Chicago, which has received a separate federal grant.

IDPH is launching an enrollment process in coordination with ISBE through which schools can submit orders for portable HEPA air purifiers. The administrators of eligible school districts will be contacted directly with information about how many purifiers that their districts are eligible to receive. The portable air purifiers will be delivered to school districts in the coming months. Schools will generally be eligible for one small air filter unit for each 20 students in a school, with a limited number of larger units for districts with more than 1,000 students.

Questions from school administrators should be directed to the IDPH Air Purifier Project Inbox at

Studies show that cleaner air can reduce absentee rates, and improve students’ abilities to think, learn, read and solve math problems.

Last year IDPH issued ventilation guidance to educate the community on the impact of ventilation systems and to provide information about low cost and DIY interventions for ventilation upgrades.

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network

Shaw Local News Network provides local news throughout northern Illinois