Campus, Coronavirus, News

New air circulators to boost air flow in classrooms

Boston University’s College of Communication. Air circulators will be installed in COM classrooms without effective heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems, according to a memo sent to COM faculty. ELIZA SHAW/ DFP FILE

Air circulators will be installed in classrooms at Boston University that don’t have an effective heating, ventilating and air conditioning system, according to a memo sent to College of Communication faculty. 

The memo, which summarized a COM faculty coach meeting Friday about Learn from Anywhere updates, was forwarded to The Daily Free Press by a BU faculty member under the condition of anonymity.

Deborah Jaramillo, a faculty coach in the Film and Television Department who wrote the version of the memo the DFP received, said in an interview that faculty coaches do not make the decisions and are messengers of updates from upper-level administration. 

Brad Fernandes, director of technology at COM, wrote in an email that the air circulators were provided by BU’s Facilities Management and Operations. 

The College of Communication’s Technical and Operations were not involved in the purchase or placement of the circulators,” Fernandes wrote. 

BU spokesperson Colin Riley wrote in an email that all BU classrooms have been upgraded to ensure proper air ventilation. Rooms should have the equivalent of four to eight changes per hour, Riley wrote, combined with fresh air as well as filtered and purified air.

“We’re monitoring all the work,” Riley wrote, “and are pleased with how things are going at this point.”

A report published by the University in July revealed that the mechanical HVAC systems on BU’s campus would be undergoing improvements. 

Riley said in a later interview that HVAC engineers and consultants who participated in the University’s effort to improve classroom environments are aware of the differences individual rooms can have, such as being windowless or in basements.

“The consultant’s job is to rate what equipment is needed, when appropriate, for all these places,” Riley said. “So that’s the guidance we took.” 

BU had expected to allocate more than $7 million to the transition toward a hybrid model for the Fall semester, much of which was spent on technology assistance and upgrades. 

Faculty members will receive bluetooth headsets, according to Jaramillo’s memo, because the new air circulators can create loud noise, and some don’t have mufflers.

The headsets will be provided by Information Services and Technology, Fernandes wrote. 

They were expected to arrive Monday, and can be picked up at an IT Help Center located in Marsh Plaza between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday of this week, according to the BU Technology Support webpage. 

Faculty can also pick up the headsets at the IT help center at West Campus. Additional locations may be offered, but have not yet been posted on the website. 

Riley confirmed there are enough headsets for faculty who may find themselves in need of one. These headphones are only able to work with personal laptops and not with in-room computers because the latter does not have the ability to connect via Bluetooth. 

Journalism faculty coach Peter Smith, a contributor to the version of the memo the DFP received, said in an interview that since sending out the memo, he has not received many questions from faculty. 

“I’m a little bit surprised that there haven’t been more questions,” Smith said. “I’m assuming that it’ll really be the first two weeks when people are faced with all this new technology.”  

Smith stressed that many faculty members are doing their best to make sure they get things right and that their students are not missing out on anything. 

“We’ve worked really, really hard and we take that to heart,” Smith said. “It’s just been such a privilege to work with [the faculty] because they’re brilliant.”

Comments are closed.