There are currently 60 out of 294 schools which school districts report do not have integrated mechanical ventilation systems in the province.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, two consultant firms were hired to measure carbon dioxide (C02) levels in a sample of rooms at these 60 schools.
The air quality tests were conducted under the conditions most likely to create a CO2 buildup in schools: during the winter heating season (2020-21) and with classrooms occupied.
All test results were found to be within the safe range of CO2 levels and did not demonstrate reason for health and safety concerns.
In accordance with WorkSafeNB guidance, it is not until CO2 levels reach 5,000 parts per million (ppm) over an eight-hour period weighted average, or 30,000 ppm over a 15-minute weighted average that there are risks to the occupants’ health and safety.
Of the 60 schools tested, results for 47 schools indicated that certain rooms, although safe, did have C02 levels peak above 1,500 ppm, which are less than optimal for learning. These results followed peak periods of stagnation within the classroom during the day.
School districts have received all test results and have taken measures to reduce CO2 levels on a case-by-case basis to best respond to the specific configuration of spaces within the schools.
Often, mitigation is as simple as ensuring there are more opportunities for air exchange. For instance, installing exhaust fans, opening doors and windows, or having the students move more freely through the school throughout the day.
A summary of all test results, as well as detailed reports for each school, can be found below.
Classrooms will be retested in the winter of 2021-22.