Mary has written to Durham County Council’s Head of Children and Young People’s Services, John Pearce, to ask what consideration the Council have made regarding the feasibility of CO2 monitors and HEPA filters for schools.
This comes as teaching unions together wrote to the Health Secretary to ask for better support for schools to be able to afford the ventilation equipment necessary so that classrooms can be properly ventilated year round. This means that windows would not need to be open throughout the upcoming winter period.
Mary fully backs the calls from unions for the government to fund proper and adequate ventilation for schools.
Full text of the letter can be found below:
I am writing to you on behalf of a number of my constituents to ask for some clarification on the issue of ventilation in schools across County Durham. Ventilation is essential in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. It is imperative therefore, that the schools of County Durham have the adequate equipment in order to properly mitigate the risk of viral spread.
I am aware of a government trial to introduce air purifiers to schools in 2022, but I agree with Julie McCulloch of the Association of School and College Leaders, who says “the benefits of improving ventilation seem pretty obvious, particularly when other countries are forging ahead with installing air purifiers… once again the Government is dithering when what is needed is decisive action…”
Ahead of the next academic year, what steps have Durham County Council put in place to ensure that classrooms are properly ventilated to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19?
What progress, if any, has been made on the feasibility of CO2 monitors and HEPA filters for classrooms, as recommended by Sage Professor Stephen Reicher and the NASUWT?
Durham County Council has a real opportunity to provide the means necessary for young people to be able to thrive in their school environment without the fear of COVID-19 looming over them. Ventilation is mandated by the government; however, there is only so far that opening a window can go to protect health, especially in the coming winter months.
I urge you to work alongside colleagues in Public Health to address these issues and to provide these pieces of equipment for our schools.
I look forward to your response.