ATTRIBUTED TO A NSW DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION SPOKESPERSON
NSW Health, the Doherty Institute and the World Health Organisation have identified that maximising natural ventilation by opening doors and windows as the best method to disperse particles in the air.
The department has reviewed all windows, fans and ventilation systems in more than 150,000 spaces across more than 2200 public schools, including preschools, in NSW to ensure they operate as intended.
This review has provided the department significant information to inform ventilation and asset use recommendations, and will provided schools with localised advice for COVID-safe teaching and learning.
Any necessary rectification works identified by the review, such as easing and adjusting windows to ensure they operate as intended, will be completed.
The department is confident that the vast majority of spaces in schools can be adequately ventilated through natural and mechanically assisted ventilation.
The department will work with individual schools to develop a localised plan and consider mitigation strategies to enable the continued safe use of their facilities.
Purifiers are not required in every classroom to make them safe, WHO and Doherty Institute research indicates natural air ventilation is the most effective approach, however there will be times where maximising natural ventilation may not be a suitable option to implement in teaching spaces, for example due to bushfire smoke or poor air quality. The department is purchasing a stock of air purifiers to address these issues as they arise to ensure we can mobilise support and improve air quality in teaches spaces impacted by local conditions.
Ventilation is only one part of the return to school plan. There is a comprehensive range of measures in place, including vaccinations, outdoor teaching, use of masks, additional hygiene supplies and enhanced cleaning, and servicing and cleaning of air conditioning systems