Covid-19: All UK schools to get carbon dioxide monitors

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A Co2 monitor measures indoor air quality and carbon dioxide concentration. Alamy photo
A Co2 monitor measures indoor air quality and carbon dioxide concentration. Alamy photo

London - Students set to return to classrooms in England from next week

By Prasun Sonwalkar

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Published: Sat 21 Aug 2021, 9:53 PM

The Boris Johnson government on Saturday announced that carbon dioxide (Co2) monitors would be provided to all state-funded educational institutions from September in a bid to help staff quickly identify where ventilation facilities are needed to be improved and also prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Research has shown that letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Students return to classrooms in England from next week.

Officials said that backed by a £25 (Dh125) million government investment, the new monitors, estimated at over 300,000, would enable staff to act quickly where ventilation is poor and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working.

The government has also launched a trial of air purifiers in 30 schools in Bradford, which is designed to assess the technology in education settings and whether they could reduce the risk of transmission.

Since Co2 monitors are portable, schools and other settings will be able to move them around, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated. Students and staff will also be asked to continue twice-weekly testing, with two on-site tests provided for secondary and college students as they return.

Britain’s education secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Providing all schools with Co2 monitors will help them make sure they have the right balance of measures in place, minimising any potential disruption to education and allowing them to focus on world class lessons and catch up for the children who need it. By keeping up simple measures such as ventilation and testing, young people can now enjoy more freedom at school and college”.

The country’s health secretary Sajid Javid added: “We’re all enjoying the return to a more normal way of life and getting our children back into school is a really important part of that process. We want to ensure schools are both safe and comfortable for students and staff – and have been clear that good ventilation is crucial”.

The programme would provide schools and other educational institutions with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across the indoor spaces in their estate, assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time, the officials added.

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