Over £3.3 million of funding being made available to improve ventilation in schools across Wales
Over £3.3 million is being made available to improve ventilation in schools, colleges and universities in Wales
The money will be used to improve ventilation in education settings such as school classrooms, colleges and lecture halls in a move to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 and create safer learning environments for pupils, students and staff.
The Welsh government was going to buy more than 1,800 ozone disinfecting machines but that was put on hold pending further evidence around their effectiveness and safety.
Ministers have now confirmed they will not be pushing ahead with the controversial devices in what one opposition party labelled a “hare-brained idea.”
The funding announcement comes as new CO2 monitors are starting to be rolled out in educational settings across Wales this week.
30,000 CO2 ‘traffic light’ monitors are due to be provided to local authorities to distribute to classrooms, seminar rooms and lecture halls in Wales, with the rollout expected to be completed by mid-November.
Guidance has been issued to educational settings on how to use the new CO2 monitors which include sensors.
They will notify teachers and lecturers when CO2 levels rise, so they can identify where ventilation needs to be improved.
This will help maintain comfortable temperatures for learners and staff during colder periods, reduce heat loss and save on energy costs.
Where the monitors identify a recurring CO2 issue, schools, colleges and universities will be able to access funding from the investment announced today to undertake improvement works.
Minister for Education and Welsh Language Jeremy Miles said: “It has been good to see children back in schools this term.”
“We know how important it is for their wellbeing that they are able to be in school with their friends and teachers, and we are doing all we can to make sure that classrooms are a safe space for pupils to learn. ”
“This investment for ventilation improvements, along with the rollout of CO2 monitors, will help keep transmission rates low.”
“However, it is still really important that we all do our bit to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and this includes regular handwashing and maintaining distance where we can.”
Welsh Conservative Shadow Minister for Education, Laura Anne Jones MS, said:
“Ventilation is crucial to combating coronavirus, but this money has only become available because Labour have now scrapped their controversial ozone machines scheme which involved the spraying of toxic chemicals in classrooms.”
“Experts and medics couldn’t understand why these machines were being invested in by Labour ministers over enhanced ventilation systems, and Welsh Conservatives expressed serious concerns from the outset of these proposals. ”
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