Education settings to receive carbon dioxide monitors

The government has announced that CO2 monitors will be provided to all state-funded education settings from September.

The move is backed by a £25m government investment and will enable staff to act quickly where ventilation is poor and provide reassurance that existing ventilation measures are working

Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The majority of c. 300,000 monitors will become available over the autumn term, with special schools and alternative provision prioritised to receive their full allocation from September given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils.

The government has also launched a trial of air purifiers in 30 schools in Bradford, which is designed to assess the technology in education settings and whether they could reduce the risk of transmission.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said:

‘Providing all schools with CO2 monitors will help them make sure they have the right balance of measures in place, minimising any potential disruption to education and allowing them to focus on world class lessons and catch up for the children who need it.’

CO2 monitors are portable so settings will be able to move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.

Jonathan Broadbery, National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA)’s director of policy and communications, said:

‘NDNA has been told by the Department for Education that private, voluntary and independent early years settings will be included in the scheme for Carbon Dioxide monitors. This is a welcome recognition that early years providers are a part of the national education infrastructure.

‘Nurseries and childcare settings have operated throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and have gone, and continue, to go to great lengths to keep children and staff safe. Access to the right tools will help providers understand some of their areas of risk and help to ensure everyone remains safe. We want to see detailed guidance of how this scheme will operate and what support will be available to settings if ventilation issues are identified.

‘Many settings are already running at a loss and have seen their running costs rise even further due to the pandemic. Throughout the past 18 months we have called for additional financial and practical support for early years settings. While this practical support is welcome, it must also be backed up with extra resources to support nurseries.’

Neil Leitch, Early Years Alliance chief exec, said: 

‘Clearly, ventilating indoor spaces is a crucial component of ensuring early years settings remain as safe as possible. We therefore welcome the move to make carbon dioxide monitors available to all settings that offer early entitlements, as a valuable additional step to keep them both well-ventilated and hospitable during the more challenging autumn and winter months.

‘Ensuring our early years spaces remain Covid-safe is a mission the sector is fully invested in. Any additional support for that mission will not only help protect children and the the early years workforce, but also allow the sector to remain open as much as possible, benefitting the many families which rely on it.’

 

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