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UK schools to receive carbon dioxide monitors to help fight COVID

State-funded schools across the UK’s cities and towns are to be given carbon dioxide monitors to help tackle the ongoing challenges posed by COVID-19.

The government says that the monitors, part of a £25million investment package, will allow teachers and other school staff to act swiftly where ventilation is poor and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working.

The majority of the 300,000 monitors will become available over the autumn term, with special schools and alternative provision prioritised to receive their full allocation from this month, as a result of them having higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

CO2 monitors are portable so schools and other settings will be able to move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

The programme will provide schools and other settings with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across the indoor spaces in their estate, assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time.

‘To act swiftly where ventilation in schools is poor’

The government has also launched a trial of air purifiers in 30 schools in the northern city of Bradford, which is designed to assess the technology in education settings and whether they could reduce the risk of transmission.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “Providing all schools with CO2 monitors will help them make sure they have the right balance of measures in place, minimising any potential disruption to education and allowing them to focus on world class lessons and catch up for the children who need it. By keeping up simple measures such as ventilation and testing, young people can now enjoy more freedom at school and college.”

More details will be available following the completion of procurement, however all schools and colleges are expected to receive at least partial allocations during the autumn term, enabling all settings to monitor areas where they believe airflow may be weakest. As the monitors are rolled out the department will provide guidance on their use.

Author: Simon Weedy

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