Despite Deep Divisions over Covid-19 Protocols, the Need for Clear Air in the Classroom Unites Houston Parents

Half of all parents would consider switching school districts if better air quality and a healthier indoor environment were offered

FALLS CHURCH, VA — December 3, 2021 — Despite predictably broad disagreement about vaccinations, lockdowns, and masking mandates, a new survey of Houston parents revealed near unanimity on the importance of indoor air quality in their children’s schools. Ninety-five percent of respondents reported that indoor air quality is somewhat or very important for creating an environment where children can learn.

“Parents remain divided about many of the measures proposed for keeping kids safe in schools, but they coalesce around the importance of having good air quality in the classrooms,” said Jim Traficant, Chairman and CEO of Citadel Sciences. “Ensuring we emerge from this pandemic intact as a society will largely depend on our ability to look past our differences and work on those areas of agreement. I find the results of the survey encouraging because they indicate a positive path forward.”

Other noteworthy findings emphasize how much parents are concerned about the quality and cleanliness of their children’s classrooms and include:

Two-thirds of parents say they are now more likely to ask school districts about their health and hygiene policies.

  • 82% of respondents say clean, healthy air is an important feature of a school building, followed by hygiene stations and efficient air circulation, which were both the choice of 73% of respondents.
  • 75% of parents say poor air circulation creates a stressful or anxious learning environment, putting it on par with uncomfortable temperatures and “stuffy” classrooms.
  • 54% of parents would consider transferring their children to another school district if it prioritized hygiene and 50% would consider transferring their children to another school district if it provided better air quality and a healthier indoor environment.

In contrast to broad agreement on air quality, parents remain largely split on issues like vaccine mandates for children and overall satisfaction levels with school safety. For example, only 42% of parents said that they believed vaccines were safe and 45% said they were effective for children ages 5-11. Further, more respondents said vaccines for this group should not be required (45.58% compared to 41.15%).

Outside the context of Covid, there may also be new opportunities to inform the public about the impact of poor air circulation and CO2 levels on cognitive ability as it pertains to learning. The Biden administration seems to agree. The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Acts includes $100 billion for ventilation and indoor air quality among other school improvements.


The survey was conducted online between November 1-13 from a national sample of 520 K-12 parents in Texas metro regions, with a particular focus on Houston’s Region 4. It was administered by third-party research provider Qualtrics for Citadel Sciences. Respondents were surveyed using an online research panel method across a combination of computer, mobile and tablet devices.

Citadel Sciences

Citadel Sciences is a systems integrator delivering innovative, multi-layered solutions to help protect every element of indoor spaces, including air quality and monitoring, surface protection, as well as communications support. For more information, visit