Lancashire Council is providing county schools with air cleaning units under a £150k investment to help stop the spread of Omicron.Advertisement
On Monday, 24 January, the government announced it is providing up to 9,000 units to schools and colleges to improve ventilation in classrooms.
Last year, the Department for Education created a programme to supply special schools with free carbon dioxide monitors and ventilation equipment.
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Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing Councillor Michael Green said: “Being in the classroom is undoubtedly the best place for children.
“Face-to-face learning is so important for their education and wellbeing, which is why we decided to take additional actions to support our schools.
“We now know the importance of keeping teaching spaces well ventilated, and this equipment will help more schools do that and enable them to keep children safe in the classroom.”
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CO2 monitors help education settings to identify poor ventilation so they can improve it and reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Before the announcement, Lancashire County Council decided to build on the national programme to widen it to all schools.
Schools in Lancashire can request carbon dioxide monitors and air cleaning units while waiting for the national scheme to catch up.
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As part of the local initiative, the council has purchased 1,000 carbon dioxide monitors to supply to any school in the county council area.
Schools can use the carbon dioxide monitors to check their CO2 levels, and if they can demonstrate an issue, receive a temporary air cleaning unit.
In addition, the council purchased 110 air cleaning units to act as temporary support for schools unable to address their carbon dioxide levels by simple ventilation changes.
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Cllr Green and County Councillor Jayne Rear visited Lancashire Business Park in Farington near Leyland this week to view the air cleaning units, following a significant delivery.
Cllr Rear said: “Schools have been working flat out to manage cases of Covid-19 while trying to keep as many children in school as possible for face-to-face education.
“School staff are doing an incredible job under extremely difficult circumstances, as they have done throughout the pandemic.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to support schools to keep children safe and minimise disruption to education.”
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Ten were distributed to several schools and nurseries, with 100 now ready to be sent out to education settings across the county.
The council will recruit extra engineers to help identify medium and long-term solutions for schools.
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Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, Director of Public Health for Lancashire County Council, said: “Infection rates remain high across the county, particularly among primary school-age children and under 5s, who do not have the protection of the vaccine.
“This is having a significant impact on staff absence rates in our schools and is leading to further disruption to children’s education.
“Staff work so hard to keep as many children in school as possible, and they need parents to work with them, so Covid is kept outside the school gates.”
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