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Back to school: in a safe way, of course

Back to school: in a safe way, of course
Posted on 12-8-2021 by Nienke Vinkenvleugel

The coronavirus is still with us and unfortunately will remain so for a while. Of course, we want our children to be able to go to school safely. In addition to the basic rules, it has recently become clear that ventilation is also extremely important in order to keep the virus from spreading. Under certain circumstances, the coronavirus can be transmitted within 1.5m. This is the case when there is little or no ventilation in a room and/or when there are many people in a room together for a long time. When there is good ventilation inside, the chance of contamination is therefore considerably lower. Besides the fact that it is important to ventilate well with corona, this is also important to prevent health risks. Besides good ventilation, a good balance in humidity can also help to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Especially in winter, it can get very dry inside.
It is recommended to keep the air humidity between 40 and 60%.

Ventilation in the classroom

For our children to go back to school safely, we need to make sure that the classroom is ventilated. This can be done in various ways. For example, by using heat recovery (MVHR), which ventilates the room while retaining the heat, or mechanical ventilation (MEV). You can also choose natural ventilation: ventilation grilles in walls and/or doors.
Note: These systems must be on or open all day. If this is not the case, the clean air becomes polluted again within half an hour and health risks arise again.

When we want to be sure that a room is ventilated properly, measuring the CO2 and humidity can help. A CO2 monitor indicates the quality of indoor air by measuring carbon dioxide. When this is around 600 ppm, it means that the air quality is good. By using the EnviSense CO2 monitor with data logger, the history of the measurements can also be viewed.
Humidity can be measured with a number of CO2 meters, among others. You can increase humidity in the classroom by planting more plants or purchasing an air humidifier. Furthermore, you can also use air purifiers. These remove corona particles from the air by means of a HEPA filter, among other things. Air cleaners are not a replacement for ventilation, but an addition.

Regulations and subsidies for schools in the UK

There is currently no subsidy for ventilation in schools. There is only money to support schools with increasing costs due to staff absenteeism. However, England does encourage the proper ventilation of classrooms during the pandemic. And to check which rooms are poorly ventilated, for example with a CO2 meter.

TIPS

  • Tip 1: Place a CO2 monitor in the classroom. That way you will know exactly when it is time for fresh air. This will not only reduce the transmission of covid, but the children will also be better able to content themselves when the air quality is optimal.
  • Tip 2: Ventilate, ventilate, ventilate! Make sure there is fresh air in the classroom at all times.
  • Tip 3: Teach your child about the importance of ventilation. This way they will also understand why it is good for you and eventually they can pay attention to it themselves.
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