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How do we minimize COVID-19 infection risk when we return to school?

Students are heading back to classrooms. Undetected, there may be one who’s infected by COVID-19. Beyond masking, what are the options for teachers and administrators to minimize the spread of disease through the air? Join us as we talk with Central New York experts about how air can be replaced or purified to help protect classmates and teachers. When do portable air purifiers make a difference if a superspreader is in the room? How do I choose purifiers that will be effective and economical? Where should I place them? How can I understand how air moves in my room? What are the possibilities for rearranging the flow to minimize the risk of disease transmission?

Read the editorial by Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Integrating IAQ control strategies to reduce the risk of asymptomatic SARS CoV-2 infections in classrooms and open plan offices

Read the research brief by Eric A. Schiff, Ventilation & Masks: Reducing Airborne Transmission of COVID-19 in a Classroom


Vinny Lobdell, President, Healthway Family of Brands Vinny Lobdell attended Oswego State for 4 years focusing on Marketing and Economics. Later, he continued on to receive an entrepreneurial masters in partnership with the Entrepreneurs Association at MIT. Lobdell took the leadership role at HealthWay in 2008 and soon thereafter, HealthWay was named to the Inc 500 list of fastest growing companies in America. In 2017, Lobdell co-founded Intellipure, a fast-growing B-to-C brand with a heavy emphasis on creating the best customer experience through handcrafted, individually certified air cleaning systems. Today, HealthWay Family of Brands is recognized as the global leading manufacturer of air cleaning solutions for almost any application.  Over the past 12 years, Lobdell has traveled to 50 countries educating and speaking to industry leaders, governments, and medical professionals on air pollution and the harmful effects that come along with occupying our built environments. In the last 6 months, HealthWay Family of Brands has been called on by NYC Health and Hospital, Atlantic Health Systems, The U.A.E. Ministry of health and hundreds of corporate clients to assist in getting people back to work. Several of these clients represent some of the largest and most sophisticated companies in the world. Healthway remains committed to the Central New York Community and has hired an additional 50 people and added 20,000 square feet of additional manufacturing space in Pulaski NY. 

Photo of Jianshun Zhang

Jianshun “Jensen” Zhang, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University and Visiting Professor, School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China, SyracuseCoE Faculty Fellow Jensen Zhang is Professor and Director of Building Energy and Environmental Systems Laboratory, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Syracuse University (SU), New York, USA, and a Visiting Professor and Chief Researcher of the School of Architecture and Urban Planning at Nanjing University, China. He received his Ph.D. from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and worked at National Research Council of Canada for 8 years before he joined SU. Zhang is a co-leader of the SU-wide research cluster in Energy and Environment that promotes and coordinates multi-disciplinary research on the campus. He is an expert in room air and contaminant distribution, material emissions, air purification, building enclosure performance, and combined heat, air, moisture and pollutant simulations (CHAMPS) for integrative design and intelligent controls of buildings. He has authored/co-authored over 200 technical papers and 3 American national standards. He is Associate Editor of Journal of Science and Technology for the Built Environment (STBE, formerly ASHRAE HVAC&R Research Journal) and The International Journal of Ventilation, and serves as a Member of the Editorial Boards of Building Simulations—an international Journal, International Journal of High-Rise Buildings, and the International Journal of Architectural Frontier Research. He is Fellow of ISIAQ and ASHRAE, and current Chairman of the International Association of Building Physics.  


Eric A. Schiff, Ph.D., Interim Executive Director, SyracuseCoE and Professor of Physics, Syracuse University Eric Schiff has a long history of leading complex research projects that bring together academics, industry scientists and other partners to discover solutions to society’s energy-related problems. He has been a professor of physics at Syracuse University since 1981, leading interdisciplinary research groups and collaborating with laboratories from other universities and private organizations throughout the world. He has been a principal investigator for externally funded research projects from government agencies (Department of Energy, National Science Foundation and the Empire State Development Corp.) and corporations (United Solar Ovonic LLC, Boeing Inc., First Solar Inc., and SRC Inc.). During his time at Syracuse, he has spent half-year sabbaticals at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center and at Innovalight, Inc., a startup company. From 2014-1017, he served concurrently as a program director at ARPA-E, an agency of the Department of Energy. There he initiated the SHIELD research program of a dozen research projects seeking inexpensive efficiency retrofits for legacy single-pane windows. He also supervised a portfolio of additional projects on solar energy conversion and other energy technologies. Schiff’s own research accomplishments include development of low-mobility solar cell device physics for thin-film solar cells such as perovskites, amorphous silicon, and cadmium telluride. His fundamental physics contributions include work on electronic transport and defects in semiconductors as well as on plasmonics. He is co-author of more than 100 refereed research publications with more than 4,000 citations and he is co-inventor on three U.S. patents. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.