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Covid 19 seeks school ventilation standards as a priority – health professionals

Public health experts say New Zealand schools will need better ventilation to avoid the Cove 19 Delta.

Classroom School Student Desk

Dr Jan Russell says New Zealand has long tolerated poor classroom ventilation. (File photo)
Image: Unsplash / Ruben Rodriguez

Starship Children’s Hospital Developmental Pediatrics Dr. Jan Russell. Wrote a blog post University of Otago epidemiologists, including Professor Michael Baker and Nick Wilson, called on the Ministry of Education to immediately invest in new building standards and resources for better ventilation in classrooms.

Dr. Russell explained. Morning report. Good ventilation has been taken seriously in other countries, and can be as effective as using masks to prevent viral spread.

“It’s not a problem that’s going away and … studies, for example, say ventilation will be just as effective – in emerging evidence – as a mask.”

“As you can imagine, it’s not just Covid 19, we’re trying to stop the transmission of other viruses.

He said schools in the United States have ventilation systems and the UK recently promised 300,000 carbon dioxide monitors to alert teachers when ventilation is needed to improve air quality.

In contrast, a typical Wellington primary classroom meets building code ventilation standards for only 38% of the school day.

“There is no silver lining for this but we want the Ministry of Education to consider what can be done to improve the existing building stock and then ensure that ventilation in the building stock going forward. There will be higher standards for. ” Russell said.

“I understand that in Auterwa we have adopted poor building standards for our schools and what we are saying is in this new era with Delta emerging and possibly us for other new types. We still need to invest in improving the quality of the building. Our school children. “

At Nelson, Wyoming College Principal Scott Haynes said teachers and other staff are well aware of the need for good ventilation.

“Ventilation goes hand in hand with hygiene practices, sanitizers, physical distance, hygiene, contact detection, and so on,” he said.

“I was talking to a colleague in Anwar Kargil last week when he came back to school and there was a snowstorm, and he said it was making his ventilation strategy quite difficult, so definitely admit that Mileage varies across the country.

Heinz said that although attendance this time was much higher than when students returned from the previous lockdown, the use of masks by students was much lower.

“I think our school average last week was 90.5%, which is a little lower than normal attendance.

“My ballpark population may be between 5 or 10 percent of the student population, but very high rates with staff.”

Dr Russell said it was not appropriate to place the burden of school ventilation on individual teachers.

“One of the reasons we’re saying this is that most of the time what teachers are doing to ventilate the classroom is just to open the windows. We don’t think it’s up to individual teachers to do that. Protect. We must design well. Ventilated classrooms with clean air. “

“It is very important that the Ministry of Education looks at ventilation in schools because we have a long-standing poor stock.”

Regardless, teachers could take some action during this time.

“Studies show that if you can open only one crack in the windows, get some holes, it really improves the ventilation. Due to the temperature difference between the classroom and the outdoor this room There are even smaller doors to ventilate.

“We’re coming to Auterwa soon in the summer and it would be great if we could throw out as many open windows and doors as possible to get as much outside air in – it would be really beneficial and make sure. We don’t have a school. It’s closed and we don’t have a transmission in the classrooms. “

Haynes said the constant threat of Cove 19 and lockdowns is increasing the economic divide for families, which is a real concern.

“Those who have the resources and technology, the bedroom space, the study space and help to further their education at home are able to do so, and those who are not are not and the gap widens.

“It’s something we’re focusing on all over the country … Now that we’re all back in school, we’re trying to identify these gaps and how we’re going to fill them. ۔ “

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