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What does the air quality in Quebec schools depend on?

October 5th, 2021

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, parents are becoming increasingly concerned about the air quality in schools. A report from the Ministry of Education, released in April 2021, stated that half of the classrooms do not offer optimal air quality. But what does the air quality in Quebec schools depend on? The following article will give you an idea of what causes this poor air quality.

High CO2 measurements

The Quebec report shows that 49% of the classrooms tested exceeded the 1000 parts per million (PPM) CO2 measurement, the threshold above which it is estimated that building occupants may feel discomfort. This is a situation that requires continued vigilance. The Ministry of Education (MEQ) has established a governance structure and is working closely to address the situation.

Measures to be implemented

Poor air quality in a building such as a school can be caused by many things. It could be due to poor air filtration, infrequent cleaning of ventilation ducts or air exchanger problems. There are a number of things that can be done to ensure that the air quality in schools is improved.

Maintenance of the heating system

Maintenance of the various systems is the basis for improving the air quality in a building. For example, the heating system is much like an automobile, it needs regular tune-ups to achieve optimal performance, to limit energy consumption and to prevent potential breakdowns. Dust and debris accumulate in the ducts over time and pollute the air. To reduce airborne pollutants, it is imperative that filters be changed and washed regularly and that standing water be drained from air conditioners. It is absolutely necessary to have the ventilation ducts (heating system, heat pump, air conditioner, etc.) cleaned by a professional every three to five years. Schools are buildings with a lot of traffic. The more traffic there is in a building, the more often the ducts will need to be cleaned.

Ventilation and dust removal

Eliminating dust, allergens and contaminants should be a priority to ensure the best possible air quality. A vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter (high efficiency for fine particles in the air) should be used regularly. Many schools are not equipped with mechanical ventilation systems, which forces teachers to open windows to create ventilation. This is obviously not always possible, especially during the cold winter months. Air purifiers could also be very useful in these cases.

If you have any questions about what is causing the poor air quality, do not hesitate to contact professionals. They will certainly be able to give you the right information since poor air quality is linked to many illnesses, so your health and that of your family are at stake.

Référence :http://www.education.gouv.qc.ca/fileadmin/site_web/documents/reseau/rapport-qualite-air2.pdf