While Health minister Christian Dube recently announced that fixing the ventilation of schools “should have been completed a long time ago,” that is cold comfort for parents, students, teachers and staff working in institutions where air circulation needs to be upgraded.
The Lester B Pearson School Board is trying to be proactive, having spent a half a million dollars recently to purchase portable ventilation equipment that can be used in classes and hallways to augment air circulation. With the colder weather coming, it will be more important than ever as keeping windows open indefinitely will be a challenge to keep staff and students warm while they try to learn.
More than 400 units will be distributed throughout the board’s network of schools. The ventilators have filters that can diminish the spread of COVID 19.
The ventilators have been ordered and are expected to be set up in classrooms within the next few weeks, ideally before the Christmas break.
The board’s assistant director-general Carol Heffernan said in a recent TV interview that teachers and parents had offered to purchase air ventilators at area hardware stores but “those aren’t designed to do a full classroom with 20 or 25 students in it.”
The air quality issue in the province’s academic institutions has been problematic for years but the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.