Lancashire Council is providing schools in the county with air purification units as part of a £150,000 investment to help stop the spread of Omicron.
On Monday, January 24, the government announced it would provide up to 9,000 units to schools and colleges to improve ventilation in classrooms.
Last year, the Department of Education created a program to provide special schools with free carbon dioxide monitors and ventilation equipment.
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Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Being in the classroom is without a doubt the best place for children.
“Face-to-face learning is so important to their education and well-being, which is why we have decided to take extra steps to support our schools.
“We now know the importance of keeping teaching spaces well ventilated, and this equipment will help more schools do just that and allow them to keep children safe in the classroom.”
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CO2 monitors help educational institutions identify poor ventilation so they can improve it and reduce the risk of spreading Covid-19.
Ahead of the announcement, Lancashire County Council decided to build on the national scheme to roll it out to all schools.
Lancashire schools can apply for carbon dioxide monitors and air purification units while they wait for the national scheme to catch up.
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As part of the local initiative, the council purchased 1,000 carbon dioxide monitors to supply to any school in the county council area.
Schools can use the carbon dioxide monitors to check their CO2 levels and, if they can demonstrate a problem, receive a temporary air purification unit.
Additionally, the council purchased 110 air purification units to serve as temporary support for schools unable to cope with their carbon dioxide levels through simple ventilation changes.
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Cllr Green and County Councilor Jayne Rear visited Lancashire Business Park in Farington near Leyland this week to view the air purification units, following a major delivery.
Cllr Rear said: “Schools have been working hard to manage Covid-19 cases while trying to keep as many children in school as possible for face-to-face education.
“School staff are doing an incredible job in extremely difficult circumstances, as they have throughout the pandemic.
“We will continue to do everything in our power to help schools keep children safe and minimize disruption to education.”
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Ten have been distributed to several schools and nurseries, and 100 are now ready to be sent to educational institutions in the county.
The council will recruit additional engineers to help identify medium and long-term solutions for the schools.
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Dr Sakthi Karunanithi, director of public health for Lancashire County Council, said: “Infection rates remain high across the county, particularly among primary school-age children and those under 5, who do not not benefit from the protection of the vaccine.
“This has a significant impact on staff absence rates in our schools and further disrupts the education of children.
“Staff work so hard to keep as many children in school as possible, and they need parents to work with them, so Covid is kept outside the school gates.”
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