Unions call for urgent ventilation in schools
18 August 2021
EDUCATION UNIONS, together with Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Daisy Cooper MP, have written to Gavin Williamson urging the government to take firm action to improve ventilation in schools to reduce further Covid disruption.
The unions - NEU, Unison, NASUWT, ASCL, NAHT, GMB and Unite – say proper measures to increase airflow in time for the start of the next academic year will make a difference to health and limit the damage to learning for pupils.
In their letter they say “the benefits of ventilation in the control of airborne diseases are already well understood and accepted”. They point to carbon dioxide monitors – to ensure air is flowing adequately – and micro filters for removing harmful particles as measures that will make a significant difference and should be properly funded.
Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT said, “The NASUWT believes that CO2 monitors should be in place in every school as part of an effective Covid safety response. Many teachers are still working in rooms which have the windows sealed shut, yet we now know that good ventilation is a key mitigation in helping to reduce the spread of Covid and other viruses in indoor environments.
"Given the recent warnings we have heard from the Chief Medical Officer that the autumn and winter could be a very difficult period again for the country, it’s important that pre-emptive action is taken in schools. A commitment from ministers to a fund to provide enhanced ventilation, monitoring and support with air filtration would be an extremely positive move. It would be reassuring to those working within our schools and be reassuring for many parents.”