Ventilation at schools
September 1, 2021—School boards are using multiple strategies to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff as they return to in-person learning this fall. Supported by Ministry of Education investments in ventilation system improvements during the 2020-2021 school year, HPEDSB has undertaken extensive work over the past year to optimize and improve ventilation and air filtration in schools.
- 2021 Ventilation Report (pdf) contains details for each school
What is HPEDSB doing to improve air flow?
Air quality is being optimized at schools through improved ventilation and filtration, depending on the type of ventilation. This is a key element as part of the multiple protective strategies in place to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, and support healthier and safe learning environments for students and staff.
- Ventilation: Increasing the flow of outdoor/fresh air for diluting the concentration of any infectious particles.
- Filtration: Involves the use of different types of fibrous media designed to remove particles from the airstream.
The Ventilation Strategy (see Graphic 1 below), includes the following best practices:
- Implemented a preventive maintenance inspection/service program on all mechanical units to ensure continued effective operation of ventilation equipment (including operating windows).
- Increased filter ratings to catch smaller particles, as appropriate for each type of equipment and conduct more frequent filter changes.
- Updated or added ventilation equipment at schools to provide a long term solution to increased air quality and adjusted to do a 2-hour purge before and after the school day.
- Placed standalone HEPA units in all Kindergarten classrooms and all occupied learning spaces without mechanical ventilation, as per Ministry of Education guidelines.
Investments at HPEDSB schools
The investments made by the Ministry of Education and school boards enabled all Ontario schools to implement a range of measures to improve ventilation and air quality (see Graphic 2 below).
2021-2022 school year
- Ventilation funding: $0.5 million
- 16 projects in progress/planned
- 7 schools to receive an investment, representing 17% of total schools
- Standalone HEPA filter units deployed: 381
2020-2021 school year
- Ventilation funding: $6.9 million
- 9 projects completed
- 21 schools received an investment, representing 51% of total schools
- HPEDSB will continue to implement best practices to improve ventilation and/or filtration to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff.