To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps his Department is taking to reduce the transmission of covid-19 in (a) schools and (b) other education settings through increased ventilation.
8 June 2021
The Department is working closely with Public Health England (PHE) and the Department of Health and Social Care, as well as stakeholders across the sector, to ensure that our policy is based on the latest scientific and medical advice, and to continue to develop comprehensive guidance based on the PHE supported system of controls.
The Department continues to review the ventilation requirements in the system of controls including considering whether monitoring Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels would be appropriate. We are working with the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies and NHS Test and Trace on a pilot project to measure CO2 levels in typical classrooms to enable us to provide more nuanced guidance to the sector. We will continue to consider updating our guidance as results from this pilot project emerge.
Current evidence recommends that the way to control COVID-19 is the same, even with the current new variants. The PHE supported system of controls which have been in use throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, which includes ventilation, continue to be the right measures to take.
PHE keeps all these controls under review, based on the latest evidence. Schools and colleges therefore need to continue to implement these controls. Further information can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus/education-and-childcare. Additional guidance from the Health and Safety Executive on air conditioning and ventilation during the COVID-19 outbreak can be found here: https://www.hse.gov.uk/coronavirus/equipment-and-machinery/air-conditioning-and-ventilation/index.htm.