Ontario Government to Improve Ventilation in Schools
By Logan CaswellForced Air Health & Safety HPAC General Human Resources HVAC Systems Hydronics Management HEPA HVAC mental health Ontario
Ontario is also expected to provide school boards with a standardized reporting tool on ventilation improvements.
The Ontario government has announced additional funding of $25 million to further improve ventilation in schools as students return for in-person learning later this year.
This added funding will ensure that all occupied classrooms, gyms, libraries and other instructional spaces without mechanical ventilation have standalone high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter units in place when students are back in class.
Ontario’s Science Advisory Table, as part of its science brief on school-based measures, reportedly identified the use of standalone HEPA filter units as a strategy for classrooms and spaces with challenges in achieving normal ventilation.
Approximately 20,000 standalone HEPA filter units have been purchased through the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and will be deployed to school boards where needed. Remaining funding will be allocated to school boards to acquire additional standalone HEPA filter units where needed.
Ontario is also expected to provide school boards with a standardized reporting tool on ventilation improvements. This tool will communicate school-level ventilation measures online to ensure that information is publicly available across the province, including inspection, use of standalone HEPA filter units, use of higher-grade filters and more frequent filter changes.
The investments goal is to support immediate ventilation and filtration improvements in schools, while also upgrading school ventilation infrastructure where needed. Every year, Ontario also invests $1.4 billion to maintain and renew school facilities, including HVAC systems and windows.
Ventilation enhancements are one part of Ontario’s plan to advance and protect public education for the 2021-22 school year. Ontario’s safer return to school is supported by investments, including $1.6 billion in targeted COVID-19 supports and $80 million in funding for mental health supports.