Schools: Ventilation

Department for Education written question – answered on 18th January 2022.

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Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in which countries the carbon dioxide monitors issued to schools in the autumn term of 2021 were manufactured.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, in what way schools were encouraged to report any technical difficulties they encountered with the carbon dioxide monitors issued to schools in the autumn term of 2021.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether he has received feedback from schools on the (a) installation, (b) operation and (c) interpretation of the carbon dioxide monitors issued in the autumn term of 2021.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, whether standards on (a) cable length and (b) minimum battery life were specified for the procurement of the carbon dioxide monitors issued to schools in the autumn term of 2021.

Photo of Bridget Phillipson Bridget Phillipson Shadow Secretary of State for Education

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what estimate his Department made of the number of classrooms in use in each school before sending that school its allocation of carbon dioxide monitors in the autumn term of 2021.

Photo of Robin Walker Robin Walker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, Minister of State (Education)

During the autumn term, the department provided CO2 monitors to all state-funded education providers, including early years, schools and further education colleges, backed by £25 million in government funding. We have now delivered on our public commitment with over 353,000 monitors delivered. The programme provided schools and other providers with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across their estate, assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time. Providers received roughly one monitor for every two teaching rooms, precise numbers vary according to different provider types. The department knows from feedback following the rollout of CO2 monitors that for most providers, existing ventilation measures are sufficient.

Alongside the rollout, the department has also provided new information on how to use CO2 monitors to better manage ventilation. Our operational guidance includes details for the COVID-19 helpline, and providers are encouraged to contact us if they have any queries regarding their CO2 monitors. For any technical queries, providers should contact the supplier of their monitors directly.

All department-funded CO2 monitors are supplied with a one metre USB cable that can be plugged into a standard USB power source, such as mains adaptors or laptop. Providers can use any standard USB plug adaptor for the CO2 monitors, such as ones used to charge mobile phones or other electrical devices. This is the primary means of powering the devices; batteries are a back-up.  The life of the back-up battery is variable based on the refresh rate of the device and if providers wish to use the CO2 monitor battery powered. In most cases, they can extend battery life by changing the refresh rate on their CO2 monitors. We have provided schools, colleges, and nurseries with guidance on how to use their monitors effectively. Providers can also contact the supplier of their device if they have any technical queries.

All CO2 monitors units provided by the department have met an approved technical specification. The department’s technical specification used to assess the units was developed in consultation with industry wide experts in ventilation, including chartered engineers, scientists, and several government departments. The technical specification has been published along with the contract on Contracts Finder in line with the government’s transparency agenda. All CO2 monitors were manufactured in the UK and China. Further details of the models of CO2 monitors issued to schools can be found in the guidance here: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/12cU_I5q0v1_my97yPMpb87RsSL5d5lpj.

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