Winter power outages add to school ventilation concerns


Staff member
By Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Dropping temperatures and rising school outbreaks are renewing concerns about ventilation in Manitoba classrooms as the COVID-19 pandemic wears on.
In an effort to curb transmission of the novel coronavirus, provincial officials announced Friday new restrictions that focus on preventing spread during youth sporting events and indoor recreation activities.
The changes don’t affect learning in K-12 classrooms overall, although an additional six school outbreaks have been declared.
Mechanical engineer Matt Froese said the ideal ventilation system brings in the right amount of outdoor air to exchange indoor air, includes quality air filters, and contains a control element. Many new schools have carbon dioxide monitors installed into thermostats so there is an early warning if something goes wrong, said the technical leader in commissioning at Integrated Designs Inc.
If schools cannot meet American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers standards, Froese said they should look into installing HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters — especially because ventilation becomes less effective in the winter.
“Portable HEPA filters make a lot of sense in Manitoba because adding outdoor air can be very challenging. We get very cold air in the winter and very hot air in the summer,” said Froese, adding portable filters can add aerosol protection.
Manitoba’s back-to-school pandemic plan recommends schools ensure ventilation systems operate properly, increase air exchanges, limit crowded hallways, and encourage outdoor education. The province also continues to promote mask use and, weather permitting, opening windows to promote air...continued.

For full article click