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Wed May 18 2022

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Ventilation found to be lacking in primary schools

2 Nov 21 A study of typical primary school buildings has found that 40% of them lack adequate ventilation to combat the spread of Covid-19.

Teacher prefers it shut, apparently
Teacher prefers it shut, apparently

However, the problem is not the design of the buildings or the way they are constructed – it is the teachers’ fault.

A Coventry University research team found that primary schools were often inadequately ventilated because teachers don’t want to open windows or doors regularly enough. The research found this was linked to the different thresholds for temperature between adults and children – with adults essentially feeling colder than children.

Coventry University PhD student Sepideh Korsavi, under the supervision of Dr Azadeh Montazami, observed occupant-related factors of 805 children in 32 naturally ventilated classrooms in UK primary schools during cold and warm seasons and found that 40% of classrooms failed to provide an adequate ventilation rate.

The results of the study suggest that a classroom with high potential for natural ventilation does not necessarily provide adequate indoor air quality as that relies on teachers (or pupils) to open windows and doors.

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 Dr Azadeh Montazami, an indoor environmental quality expert at Coventry University and supervisor of the research project, said: “Teachers are mainly in charge of controlling the environment in classrooms and they open windows according to their own thermal threshold, which is higher than children’s. As most UK school classrooms are naturally ventilated, teachers should be informed about these differences and the consequence of their behaviour and be encouraged to open windows to reduce the risk of spreading covid.”

Dr Sepideh Korsavi, who is now a postdoctoral researcher on sustainable buildings at the University of Plymouth, said: “The area and volume of the classrooms need to be increased to occupy students with an acceptable distance. User-friendly and safe windows that are designed at two different levels for the height of both teachers and children can facilitate their window operations. Well-designed naturally ventilated schools that are operated effectively by school occupants can increase ventilation rates and reduce the risk of spreading Covid.”

 The recommendation supports recent guidance by the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) that good ventilation is essential to reduce occupants' exposure to airborne pathogens, including Covid-19, in buildings.

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MPU
MPU

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