Safer air saves lives and improves learning in mask-optional classrooms

This post is contributed by CSBA business affiliate LifeWings Peak Performance

As a preventative measure to cope with the pandemic and promote utility savings, the state allocated $650 million in Assembly Bill 841 grants to improve air quality and plumbing in California classrooms and facilities. As of the Jan. 31 deadline, applications were received for only $168 million in grant awards. That means $482 million is still on the table for Phase 2 and Phase 3. All you have to do is apply.

School districts who made the first deadline will be getting their confirmation letters, grant agreements and checks within a matter of weeks. For many administrators whose time is already stretched to the limit, this was a missed opportunity. Especially in smaller districts that do not have the bandwidth to do the needs analysis and prepare the application.

Although the Phase 2 application period has not yet been announced, it is never too early to be ready to apply for these resources to upgrade your ventilation and plumbing systems. The state placed a priority in AB 841 on funding underserved student populations, but there is pressure to lift that restriction for the remaining phases since only 21 percent of the schools in underserved areas applied in Phase 1. That may create even more competition for these funds.

When the application is available, it can be found on the California Energy Commission’s docket listing.

During Phase 1, dozens of school districts and county offices of education partnered with LifeWings Peak Performance to handle this assessment/application process. As a safe air partner, they received assessment, testing and immediate repair work done at a school district at no cost and with no direct pressure on the General Fund budget; it is all paid for through the grant funding.

Relying on their extensive experience in creating clean air environments for health care facilities, LifeWings PP brings in a team of physicians, nurses, engineers, communicators and healthcare experts to evaluate the work needed in your district to receive the maximum grant award that resolves clean air issues unique to a school.

“LifeWings PP made the AB 841 process painless,” said Tina Van Raaphorst, chief business officer of Jefferson Union High School District. “In less than an hour, we diagnosed what we needed and completed the application. We’re expecting nearly $400,000 dollars in money we almost overlooked.”

Using AB 841 funding to improve air quality is a “good news” story for districts across the state. Communications expert Tom DeLapp is assisting LifeWings PP in creating template parent and community letters, news releases, opinion articles and talking points for leaders with the message that a district is creating clean air learning environments that promote the health of students and staff, increase student attendance, reduce employee absences, reduce energy usage, and improve student learning.

To find out more about applying for AB 841 funding contact Richard Doss, senior vice president, at or call him at (952) 201-9560.