In an email to headteachers today, the Department for Education said it will provide the CO2 monitors to “teaching spaces” that do not yet have them, with deliveries starting from next week.
The department said this will help schools to both ventilate classrooms and manage energy costs.
The Association of School and College Leaders said today that this should have happened earlier in the Covid pandemic and could have reduced the amount of disruption that the spread of the virus caused in schools.
In the DfE email to school leaders, seen by Tes, it said that having provided CO2 monitors for 50 per cent of teaching spaces in state-funded education settings last year, it now plans to provide this equipment for the other half. It says this will help schools to balance ventilation with energy costs.
Deliveries will start on Monday 28 November, and schools will receive a notification in advance to confirm the date of delivery.
Air monitors ‘will help with schools’ energy costs’
The department is also reopening a programme for DfE-funded air-cleaning units for use in classrooms where “it is not possible to maintain adequate ventilation and where CO2 levels are consistently over 1500ppm [parts per million]”. Applications open from today.
Hayley Dunn, the ASCL’s business leadership specialist, said: “We are pleased the Department for Education is providing more carbon-dioxide monitors for classrooms and reopening applications for funded air-cleaning units.
“It would have been better if this had happened earlier in the pandemic, as it could have reduced the scale of Covid-related disruption in schools and colleges, but it is better late than never.
“This equipment will provide ongoing support in protecting students and staff from Covid, flu and other airborne diseases, which is important in terms of both health and reducing absence.”
However, she added: “We would like to see more investment in modernising school buildings, many of which are relatively old and suffer from poor ventilation.”
A DfE spokesperson said: “With the onset of the cold flu season and as energy costs remain high, carbon-dioxide monitors for all teaching spaces will help teachers make sure every room is well-ventilated, while not wasting energy by opening windows where that isn’t necessary to maintain good ventilation.
“Children and teachers will benefit from better concentration and reduced circulation of any viruses, while schools will have another tool in their arsenal to manage energy costs.”