DfE announces ventilation monitoring scheme
By Rachel Lawler
The Department for Education (DfE) will be providing all state-funded education settings with carbon dioxide monitors in a bid to identify ventilation requirements.
Circulating fresh air into indoor spaces is said to be key preventing the spread of Covid-19 indoors.
The DfE says that “the majority” of the 300,000 monitors will be provided over the autumn term. Special schools and alternative provision will be given priority.
The monitors are designed to allow staff to act when ventilation is poor and provide reassurance where existing measures are working.
Education secretary Gavin Williamson commented: “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.”
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: "Clearly, ventilating indoor spaces is a crucial component of ensuring early years settings remain as safe as possible. We therefore welcome the move to make carbon dioxide monitors available to all settings that offer early entitlements, as a valuable additional step to keep them both well-ventilated and hospitable during the more challenging autumn and winter months.
"Ensuring our early years spaces remain Covid-safe is a mission the sector is fully invested in. Any additional support for that mission will not only help protect children and the early years workforce, but also allow the sector to remain open as much as possible, benefitting the many families which rely on it."
Kate Green, shadow education secretary for Labour, commented: "Once again the Conservatives have been too slow to act. These monitors should have been in place for months, instead the Government is only now starting the procurement process with little over a week to go until the new school year starts.
“Identifying poorly ventilated areas is just a first step, the Government has still done nothing to actually improve ventilation in education settings despite calls from Labour, education professionals and parents.
“The Conservatives’ chaotic, last-minute approach has created confusion for schools, parents and pupils throughout the pandemic. They are still failing to learn from their mistakes and plan ahead risking further disruption to children’s educations.”