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Covid 19 Update: Ventilation and CO2 monitors

Dear parents

You will be aware from the local and national media about the measures which the Department of Education has recommended to limit the spread of Covid in schools.

 

In a letter to schools on Thursday 13th January, the Education Minister reiterated that “In reducing COVID risks, I have been advised by Health colleagues that natural ventilation, by opening windows, is the single most effective measure.’

 

Our school was recently provided with 10 CO2 monitors which measure the quality of the air within our classrooms. They record both air quality and room temperatures and are monitored regularly by staff and pupils. Indeed, older children enjoy alerting the staff that the quality of the air has shifted from:

  • Green (below 800 ppm - well-ventilated area)
  • Yellow, (between 800 - 1,000ppm - provide additional ventilation)
  • Amber (between 1,000 – 1,500ppm provide significant ventilation)
  • Red (above 1,500 ppm -windows and other vents fully open to bring CO2 levels back to safe levels)

 

Since the monitors have been introduced, classroom CO2 levels have ranged from 510ppm and 2017ppm with the average being 975ppm (Yellow-Amber). Because many of our classrooms are small with windows on one side of the room and have high numbers of children, the CO2 levels quickly move into the Red zone and therefore maximum ventilation is required for short periods to bring CO2 levels back to recommended levels. This may even require the children leaving the classroom for a few minutes.

 

Whilst the school is trying to adhere to DE guidance on ventilation, we are conscious of the effect on classroom temperatures. Consequently, the heating system is on constantly from 7.00am to 4.00pm every school day. Sensors are placed throughout the school which relay information back to the heating system to ensure appropriate temperatures and comfort levels are maintained in classrooms.

 

Classroom temperatures will of course vary throughout the day e.g. when doors are open during break and lunchtimes or when we are trying to reduce CO2 levels. We take the view that even 17°C is not a pleasant temperature for staff or pupils and we encourage pupils to wear additional, suitable indoor clothing especially at times when classrooms are in the high Amber or Red zones.

 

Parents should be assured that the general temperature in all classrooms has been maintained above 16°C as required by DE and H&S guidance. Since the monitors were introduced, classroom temperatures recordings have ranged from 17.2°C and 21.2°C with the average being 19.5°C.

 

We are committed to providing a safe environment for the children and staff and will seek to ensure that classrooms have good air quality and are comfortable places to work. As the number of positive cases among pupils and staff has risen sharply over the past week, it is vital that we do everything in our power to limit the spread of the virus and keep classrooms open.  If you would like any further information about the schools Covid arrangements, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Peter Cush

Principal

COVID 19 UPDATE: VENTILATION AND CO2 MONITORS

COVID 19: NEW Arrangements

Everyone needs to remain vigilant for the symptoms of COVID-19, and understand what actions to take if someone develop symptoms either at home or in the school setting. If your child or anyone in your household develops any of the following symptoms of COVID-19 they should stay home and arrange to get tested as soon as possible:

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual); or
  • a high temperature/ fever – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature); or
  • a loss of or change in sense of smell or taste

 

In addition, the Board of Governors has revised the school’s policy in relation to a verified positive case of Covid within a family.

 

“If there is a positive case within a family, all primary pupils within the family must not attend school until the isolation period has ended.”  

We would like to acknowledge the overwhelming support we have received from parents in dealing with positive cases in their families. Your vigilance has helped ensure that positive cases within the school community remains low.

Flowchart for PARENTS based on NI Direct website guidance

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