The education system has been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and the pandemic has taken an extraordinary toll on students, parents and educators.

On March 10, 2021, Congress passed the American Rescue Plan (ARP), President Biden’s stimulus and COVID-19 relief package. The $1.9 trillion package includes $165 billion for the Education Stabilization Fund, which allocates funding for K-12 public schools, institutions of higher education and non-public schools to address pandemic-related challenges.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona spoke to the plan's critical role:

"Our schools, students, and communities need help now to reopen safely and quickly, and to stay open," he said. "These funds from the American Rescue Plan and the extraordinary steps the Department is taking to get these resources to states quickly will allow schools to invest in mitigation strategies to get students back in the classroom and stay there."

Distribution of COVID-19 Relief Funding for Education

The majority of ARP funding for education is allocated for K-12 education (74.5%), followed by higher education (24%) and non-public schools (1.5%). The U.S. Department of Education will begin to make these funds available immediately, so students and staff can get back into the classroom quickly and safely. Funds will be available through September 30, 2023.

Funding may be used for COVID-19 mitigation efforts to help maintain school operations during the pandemic, including improving indoor air quality and pathogen control by upgrading HVAC systems and installing air purification technology.

K-12 Education

Colleges and Universities

Non-Public Schools

How Clean Indoor Air Can Help Bring Students and Teachers Back to School Safely

ARP funds may be used for COVID-19 mitigation efforts, and clean indoor air represents one crucial piece of the puzzle. Needlepoint bipolar ionization (NPBI®) technology is a safe and effective way to filter the virus out of the air. The technology, pioneered by GPS, also has microbicidal effects on pathogens like SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19), which ultimately disrupts their surface proteins and renders them inactive.

How does needlepoint bipolar ionization work?

NPBI technology works with existing HVAC systems to release ions into a building’s airstream. When the ions travel throughout the space, they attach to particles suspended in the air, including dust, dander, pollen and pathogens (bacteria, mold and viruses). This process, called agglomeration, results in large clusters that the HVAC system’s air filter can more easily and consistently trap and remove from the air. The less virus in the air, the lower the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19. The ionization process also changes the surface proteins of viruses and bacteria, making them inactive and unable to replicate. This instantly results in cleaner indoor air and a safer environment.

Many schools and universities have already recognized the far-reaching benefits and invested in NPBI technology because it offers:

  • Proactive air purification: NPBI is a proactive approach to cleaner air. While other passive air purification systems only clean the air that passes through the HVAC unit — via either a HEPA filter or UV light — GPS products actively treat the air. Simply put, treating the air in the space is more effective vs. only treating air in the ducts. Additionally, the more ions generated and released that can do their job (cluster together and filter out particles and pathogens and inactivate viruses and bacteria), the cleaner the air.

  • A safe solution: NPBI delivers clean indoor air without producing ozone or other harmful byproducts. All products are UL registered, CE compliant and certified to be ozone-free.

  • Nominal investment with a high return: GPS products provide an affordable, effective and low-maintenance solution for cleaner air. NPBI works with the existing HVAC system, requiring minimal investment for equipment. Installation is usually completed within one day, and systems do not require routine maintenance or replacement parts.

A Purpose-Built Air Purification Solution

Air purification strategies are not one-size-fits-all. That’s why NPBI products are selected to fit the space and the specific needs of the customer. The experienced team at GPS can help determine the right products to deliver an efficient, effective solution for your school. Decisions are based on:

  • The size of the space (how much air needs to be cleaned in different areas of the building)

  • The building layout (considering how air flows to all rooms including the nooks and crannies)

  • The ionization capacity of each product (how many ions each product generates)

Learn more about how NPBI technology can help get students and staff safely back into the classroom.