A custodian in the Edina Public Schools District said she was ordered to turn off HEPA filters in order to cut costs.
“If [COVID is] so dangerous, why aren’t we being told to do our job properly?” Patricia Martinez asked the Edina School Board at a meeting on Monday. Martinez is a custodian in the district who also serves as a union steward for other custodians who work in Edina schools. She claimed that maintenance staff have been told to forgo certain measures designed to prevent COVID-19 transmission.
“We’re told to turn those [HEPA] filters off because the filters cost too much money so they’re telling us to shut them off,” Martinez reported to the board. “That’s ridiculous, why do we have them?” she asked.
High efficiency particulate air filters, also known as HEPA filters, are designed to remove contaminants from the air and may be able to remove COVID-carrying particles from a closed environment. The district website says they are still in use.
She also said that schools are urging janitors to forgo proper use of cleaning materials, apparently in the name of saving time. “We were told to only leave it on for three minutes,” she reported, speaking on the district’s chosen disinfectant chemical.
This disinfectant is identified on the district website as Suprox-D. The company that produces this product says it must be left to sit for 10 minutes in order to work — and does not list COVID as a pathogen Suprox is capable of neutralizing.
Although the district is apparently forgoing these basic preventative measures, it is still enforcing more controversial anti-COVID measures like a mask mandate for students, vaccination mandate for employees, and optional outdoor meals. The district has even hosted vaccination clinics and publicizes its student vaccination rate.
Alpha News reached out to the Edina Public Schools District, asking if Martinez’s statements are factual. The district did not respond.
Update: Edina schools responded to Alpha News after deadline and after publication, claiming Martinez’s statements aren’t accurate.