26 September 2023

Schools go for fresh air to blow COVID away

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Fresh air in classrooms is to be maximised under an expanded program to protect school communities from the spread of COVID-19.

Welcoming the expansion of the Department of Education’s Air Quality Assurance Program, Minister for Education, Sarah Mitchell said automatic fresh air ventilation systems would be rolled out to more than 10,000 public school classrooms.

Ms Mitchell said the Program, first announced in October 2021, was focused on delivering permanent improvements to natural ventilation in classrooms, based on evidence and expert advice.

“The World Health Organisation, the Doherty Institute and NSW Health agree that maximising natural ventilation in classrooms by opening windows and doors remains the most effective method for minimising the spread of COVID-19 – and this is the foundation of our approach in schools,” Ms Mitchell said.

“Government is committed to keeping students learning face to face at school and is taking steps to ensure that we maximise fresh air in our classrooms,” she said.

“Installation of these systems will further enhance the quality of air in our classrooms.”

Ms Mitchell said the 10,000 classrooms newly identified to receive automatic fresh air ventilation were over and above the 2,000 classrooms announced last year.

The Minister said the Program was also supporting permanent upgrades to windows, ceiling and exhaust fans; additional servicing of ventilation systems; procurement of 19,000 air purifiers; and the ongoing installation of automatic fresh air ventilation systems.

“As at February 2022, more than 5,500 classrooms and 380 libraries have had systems installed under this Program,” Ms Mitchell said.

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