School boards in Ontario are implementing multiple strategies to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Improved ventilation, including filtration, is just one of the many safety measures that have been identified to help reduce the spread of the virus.
Ventilation: Increasing the flow of outdoor / fresh air for diluting the concentration of any infectious particles.
Filtration: Involves the use of different types of fibrous media designed to remove particles from the airstream.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, ALCDSB has completed extensive work to improve and optimize ventilation and air filtration in our schools. This work includes more frequent inspection and servicing of our existing ventilation systems to ensure that they are in good working order and optimizing air quality through existing or new Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems and the use of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration units.
ALCDSB's Ventilation Strategy
ALCDSB's strategy to optimize air quality in our facilities includes the following best practices:
· Complete more regular preventative maintenance inspection and servicing of all mechanical equipment to optimize performance.
· Upgrade filter ratings in mechanical equipment, as appropriate, and increase the frequency of filter replacement for improve air quality.
· Adjust the settings of HVAC equipment, where possible, to increase the hours of operation and the amount of fresh air supplied through the HVAC equipment.
· Placement of stand-alone HEPA filtration units to meet or exceed Ministry of Education guidelines in all FDK and regular classrooms throughout the board.
ALCDSB Ventilation Investments
The Ministry of Education has provided school boards with funding to optimize and improve ventilation and filtration in schools. These investments have supported measures that ALCDSB implemented during the 2020-2021 ($7.5 million) school year and measures that will continue to be implemented during the 2021-2022 ($3.1 million) school year.
Please note that this Ministry funding includes spending from dedicated ventilation programs (including stand-alone HEPA filtration unit funding), federal-provincial funding, provincial renewal funding and supplemental funding from other board sources.
Standardized Ventilation Measures Report
For the 2021-22 school year, the Ministry of Education has developed a standardized ventilation report to enhance transparency and provide consistent communication across the province. For more information on the ventilation improvements that our board has undertaken, please see the ALCDSB's Standardized Ventilation Measures Report: ALCDSB Ventilation Report 2021.xlsx