Schools: Ventilation

Department for Education written question – answered on 14th July 2021.

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Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued or plans to issue to headteachers on ensuring adequate ventilation in schools to reduce risks of covid-19 infection; to what standards schools should plan and measure that ventilation; what enforcement activity he plans to undertake that guidance is followed and risk reduced; and whether he plans to make funds available to improve standards of ventilation in schools.

Photo of Kate Green Kate Green Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what guidance he has issued or plans to issue to principals of further education colleges on ensuring adequate ventilation in colleges to reduce risks of covid-19 infection; with reference to what standards should further education colleges plan and measure that ventilation; what enforcement activity he plans to undertake to ensure that guidance is followed and risk reduced; and whether he plans to make funds available to improve standards of ventilation those colleges.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Department’s guidance states that it is important that schools or colleges, when open, ensure that they are well ventilated and that a comfortable teaching environment is maintained. This can be achieved by a variety of measures including using mechanical ventilation systems and/or natural ventilation, such as opening windows. In all cases, actions should be taken to encourage fresh air into the building, whilst striking a balance with thermal comfort. The guidance for schools can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak and the guidance for further education colleges can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-further-education-provision.

The Department continues to review the ventilation requirements set out in the guidance, including considering whether monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate, and we are working with Public Health England and ventilation experts on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms.

The Department continues to keep the protective measures under review based on the latest scientific evidence and advice as this continues to evolve.

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