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Funding to improve ventilation in schools and learning environments

Buddsoddiad i wella dulliau awyru mewn ysgolion ac amgylcheddau dysgu

£3.31 million will be available to improve ventilation in schools, colleges and universities in Wales, Education Minister Jeremy Miles has announced. 

The funding 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 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 COmonitors 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 to 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.” 

Notes to editors

The £3.31m for improvements to ventilation is funding which was originally earmarked for ozone machines for educational settings.  A Technical Advisory Group (TAG) review, informed by a rapid evidence summary from the Wales Covid-19 Evidence Centre (funded by Health and Care Research Wales), has been published today and concludes that these are not currently suitable for use in educational settings, and that other measures – such as improvements to ventilation - are more effective at reducing the spread of COVID-19.  

Links to TAG report also below: 

Cyngor ar y coronafeirws gan y Gell Cyngor Technegol | LLYW.CYMRU

Advice on coronavirus from the Technical Advisory Cell | GOV.WALES