All classrooms to get a CO2 meter as part of ventilation package

Old buildings need new windows too Photo:

The government has set aside €17m to ensure every primary and secondary school classroom in the country has a carbon dioxide meter as part of a package of measures to ensure better ventilation.

By using the meters, teachers can decide if the windows should be opened in between or during lessons, schools minister Dennis Wiersma said in a note to MPs.

The education ministry is also setting up a helpline where schools can ask for advice about ventilation and call on the services of experts.

‘Pupils and teachers have the right to healthy air in the classroom,’ Wiersma said. ‘In particular, with coronavirus, we have to do all we can to keep schools open in a responsible manner.’

‘Schools and local authorities are working hard to improve ventilation,’ Wiersma said. ‘But there are still many schools where things are not going well and need to be done more quickly.’

Last month, a new body set up to monitor the implementation of education policy warned that only 25% of schools were properly ventilated and it was unclear who was ultimately responsible for improving the situation.

The government earlier earmarked €360 million for improving ventilation, but individual schools can only claim up to 30% of the total cost, with the rest coming from their own or local authority budgets.

The average cost of a new ventilation system is around €500,000 for a primary school and €1.5 million for a secondary school, according to an earlier study commissioned by the education ministry.

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