A new grant program has demonstrated widespread demand for funding to improve air quality in Connecticut schools, as experts continue to cite ventilation as a key tool in reducing the spread of COVID-19 and other airborne illnesses. According to the state’s Department of Administrative Services, Connecticut school districts submitted 130 applications for a new $150 million school ventilation grant program, established earlier this year to finance air quality projects. Though it’s unclear how many grants the state will ultimately distribute, it’s likely that only a fraction of the applicants will ultimately receive funding. To receive a grant, school districts must match the funds offered by the state but are not permitted to use money from the federal American Rescue Plan to do so. According to the state, the grant awards will be determined based on air quality at the school in question, the age of the equipment being replaced and other similar factors. The application process began in September, with a Dec. 1 deadline for all submissions.