Hundreds of maintenance teams across NSW are finalising repairs and alterations to windows and ventilation systems ahead of the return to classrooms.
The NSW Government is investing $100 million in an air quality assurance program for schools as part of the economic recovery program.
Premier Dominic Perrottet said the work was an extension of the NSW Government’s commitment to keeping the community safe throughout the pandemic
“As the community has adapted to living with COVID, so have our schools, and our approach to keeping them safe using a multi-layered approach that includes vaccines, on-site restrictions, mask-wearing, cleaning and ventilation,” Mr Perrottet said.
“The funding will enable us to support ongoing improvements to air quality in public schools, making schools some of the best ventilated spaces in the community.”
The program has several components, including installing automatic fresh air ventilation systems in smaller learning spaces to allow schools to utilise the areas fully.
Funding will also be directed towards replacing windows, ceiling and exhaust fans, and additional servicing of ventilation systems.
In addition, air purifiers have been sourced and will be provided to schools when individual school circumstances require the department to respond to poor outdoor air quality.
Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell said parents should have confidence in sending their children back to school.
“Thanks to the individual ventilation audit reports, Principals know exactly how to use their spaces in a COVID-safe way – and any issues identified by the audit are being fixed in real-time,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The advice from experts is that maximising natural ventilation is the most effective method of minimising the spread of COVID-19 and our classroom ventilation strategy supports our implementation of this advice.
“What this program does is leverage the insights from our comprehensive audit and expert advice to future-proof our learning spaces not just for COVID-19, but for bushfires and other air quality issues.”