The sudden outbreak of the pandemic and a surge in active COVID cases forced the Australian government to close physical classes and shift schools to online platforms for more than a year.
It was the need of the hour given the safety protocol rolled out by the government to protect its citizens and ensure a decline in the spread of the disease.
In the last quarter of 2021, restrictions began to ease out, and Australian schools geared to reopen and welcome students after a long gap. However, the reopening of Australian schools sparked a wave of concerns for the staff, school administration and parents regarding the health and safety of students.
Considering as such, many concerned regulatory bodies published guidelines that emphasized the importance of improved ventilation for schools and the installation of air purification technology for a safe learning experience. The Australian Institute of Refrigeration, Air conditioning and Heating (AIRAH) recently published a new guideline that elaborates the importance of improved ventilation for schools, emphasizing airborne transmission and measures for mitigation.
According to AIRAH, indoor air quality in schools is currently substandard with no focus on ventilation. As a consequence of poor indoor air quality in schools, students and teachers may experience loss of concentration and productivity, and they will be highly exposed to health threats.
Moreover, approximately 75 per cent of coronavirus clusters have occurred at educational institutions, which point toward the need to maintain good indoor air quality. Currently, to mitigate risks and curb the transmission of coronavirus, various measures were taken, such as social distancing, restricting occupancy, and wearing masks.
However, AIRAH’s new guidelines suggest that ventilation should be a part of the existing precautionary measures to add an additional protective layer for the mitigation of the virus. It has called this “a swiss cheese” approach where each layer adds a protective shield.
AIRAH suggests that there are different types of ventilation systems, ranging from simple windows to complex HVAC systems and sensors that assess the environment on different parameters. There are also a few components in ventilation systems that do not heat or cool.
They rather facilitate the “thermal stack effect” and move air out of the equipment. The guideline also emphasizes the importance of adequate air changes per hour (ACH) in determining the airflow pattern and the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The higher the air change per hour rate, the lower the risk of infection, and the better the flow of air within the room.
Opting for operable windows and maintaining 4 to 6 air changes every hour may lead to unrepairable damage to the building as well as its occupants. The introduction of outdoor air may bring in excessive moisture, and the building might not be able to accommodate it.
Moreover, natural ventilation will not be a good idea if the building is in a polluted area because the contaminants can lead to health decline, especially when it comes to children who are relatively sensitive. There are chances that thermal comfort may also be compromised in natural ventilation due to extreme temperatures outside. Therefore, opting for mechanical ventilation is a better alternative for air purification for schools.
For air purification for schools, HVAC units with a filter are required to have higher filtration efficiency in order to remove particulate matter. All systems with filtration technology remove contaminants from the environment, so even a system with lower filtration efficiency will do the job. However, AIRAH suggests that HEPA filters are powerful enough to capture contaminated particles with 99.97 per cent efficiency, while other filtration technologies have a lesser impact with a removal efficiency of more than 90 per cent.
To proper implement air purification for schools, it is also important to replace filters because they can clog with dirt and dust; otherwise, saving money on replacement won’t fulfil the purpose of protecting children from the risk of disease transmission. Another crucial basis that influences the choice for air purification for schools is the noise level.
If the purification system is too loud at maximum settings, it won’t be a good fit in the school environment. Therefore, it is important to choose an air purification system that operates in a quiet mode.
Euromate Pure Air is an ideal choice when choosing a system for air purification for schools. Our air purifiers are considered the best with top-notch engineering. Euromate’s VisionAir Blue Line and Pure Air Shield (PAS) 3300 feature HEPA 14 filters that capture dust, dirt and airborne particles from the environment with 99.97 efficiency. They are also user-friendly with smart technology and quieter operation for seamless learning.
Clean your indoor air today!