By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Some of the youngest students in Denver Public Schools returned to the classroom on Monday. Many of those buildings with much cleaner air than before thanks to scientists at the University of Colorado.

(credit: CBS)

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Professor Mark Hernandez and a team of researchers started studying a live strain of coronavirus similar to COVID-19 to help zero in on our best defense during the pandemic.

“We do aerosolize it, and we are trying everything. We can translate this to practice as rapidly as we can,” Hernandez said.

He allowed CBS4 into the lab in May as they started their work testing different tools to fight against the virus, filters being one of the.

A major goal for his team, getting students back to in person learning.

“We have to be indoors, right,” he said back in May. “If we are ever going to get back to some resemblance of normal, get our transportation hubs running, get our schools back on their feet, we have to learn how to disinfect quickly.”

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On Monday, they’ve done just that, bringing high efficiency air filters into a DPS classrooms which can stop even the tiniest pollutants.

(credit: University of Colorado)

“This new generation of filters we put in rooms are designed to remove what we sneeze cough and expel or what we call ‘shed efficiency’ means they remove small particles and most of them,” Hernandez said.

More than 100 battery operated monitors will then transmit information to the team at the University in real time.

“We can tell them we need to speed up filters or move them in a better spot or this classroom doesn’t need a filter because the ventilation is really good,” Hernandez said.

Putting their research to work and helping to protect the community he says is exactly what they signed up to do.

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“That’s what civil engineers are all about,” he said.

Karen Morfitt