We tend to spend large periods of time in indoor environments, such as in office buildings and schools, as well as in restaurants and other leisure facilities, particularly during the colder months of the year. Spending a large proportion of time indoors can potentially expose us to indoor air that has been polluted by a wide range of particulates such as VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds), bacteria and viruses.
What is the current guidance for improving air quality in schools?
Schools have undoubtedly suffered immensely throughout the Coronavirus pandemic, with full school closures, partial closures, student/teachers having to isolate, and periods of extended online learning for many. There is no question that the learning experience of most students, teachers and staff has been affected in one way or another over the past two years. Taking into consideration that pupils will spend a large part of their school day inside classrooms, it is more important than ever for education facilities to provide a well-ventilated, comfortable learning environment that maintains adequate indoor air quality.
In the Schools COVID-19 operational guidance published by the Department of Education, current guidance remains for schools to open windows to provide natural ventilation where possible. Whilst this is often a viable option for some schools and in some rooms, in other rooms it is just not practical, and it is certainly not the best solution when the weather is cold and wet.
The government is working to help provide permanent indoor air quality solutions, and has committed 8,000 air purifier units to schools across the UK. However, with over 32,000 schools in the UK this number of air purifiers will potentially only scratch the surface of what is needed.
What are the effects of poor indoor air quality?
In a report published by the RCPCH (Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health), over 80% of their findings found links between indoor air pollution and children’s respiratory health.
Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, there is now far better awareness of the fact that poor indoor air quality can cause or exacerbate a range of health issues, and air pollution isn’t just a health issue, it may be affecting childrens’ ability to learn too.
Poor air quality can cause a wide range of negative effects on students, teachers and staff members, including:
- Medical symptoms
- Increased level of absenteeism
- A reduced feeling of wellbeing
- A drop in performance within a work or learning environment.
Breathing clean air into a local London school
Since learning about an indoor air quality initiative, “Mayor’s School Air Quality Audit Programme” published by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan in 2018, the students in the Eco-Committee at The Gower School in London decided to take steps in tackling indoor air pollution
After measuring the air pollution in their classrooms, the results confirmed their worst fears about the air quality within their building. The air quality in the primary school, which is close to a busy road, was very poor. Undeterred, the students used the data to evaluate and plan their next move in their mission in helping to make the school a safer, and more environmentally friendly place for the staff and pupils to be.
Clean air technology was required to restore a healthy indoor learning and working environment. The school chose VIRUSKILLER™ units, an indoor air purification solution developed specifically to be an all-in-one, plug-and-play solution for indoor environments such as classrooms, receptions and admin areas.
The benefits of clean indoor air and improved air quality were felt right away with students and teachers reporting noticeable differences in internal air quality, as well as increased alertness and productivity amongst students.
Installing high quality air purifiers can reduce indoor air pollution in buildings
There is growing evidence that air purification solutions could play a vital role in reducing the risks associated with airborne viruses and bacteria. Some solutions, such as VIRUSKILLER™, are able to kill 99.9999% of viruses with a single air pass, including Coronavirus*.
Unlike traditional air purification systems, VIRUSKILLER™ uses patented ultraviolet-C (UV-C) technology, which provides a photo chemical deconstruction of the RNA and DNA of microorganisms. This deactivates their reproductive processes so that Coronavirus, and other viruses, can no longer spread, before the clean, purified air is released back into the room.
“As we look to get our education facilities back to some semblance of normality, we recommend that schools consider including this air purification technology in their health and safety strategies, alongside increased ventilation. If we can provide education institutions with a range of options to help improve student and staff safety, we can go some way to helping ensure that UK schools remain open. It is also worth remembering that while air purifiers are a powerful solution to tackle the spread of Coronavirus via airborne aerosols, the benefits of good air quality reach far beyond the pandemic.”Jamie Woodhall, Technical & Innovations Manager at Initial Washroom Hygiene
Our VIRUSKILLER™ units provide clean and healthy air to learners of all ages and the teachers who support them. These air purifier units are proven effective against the widest range of airborne pollutants, including:
*When independently tested against Coronavirus DF2 (a surrogate for Coronavirus), Adenovirus, Influenza and Polio, the unit was found to kill 99.9999% of viruses on a single air pass.
Learn more about Initial’s range of complete air care solutions to help improve air quality.