COVID-19: Standards on air quality in schools criticized

The Autonomous Federation of Education (FAE) is asking the Legault government to tighten the rules on air quality in schools in a context where the transmission of COVID-19 by aerosol is now recognized by public health.

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Assisted by epidemiologist Nimâ Machouf, the union deplores the fact that the Ministry of Education has set the CO concentration rate at 2000 PPM2 in the air deemed important enough to implement corrective measures in the classroom. The safety standard established by the same ministry is however established at 1000 PPM, no class should therefore exceed this threshold, estimates the FAE.

These measurements on the amount of CO2 serve as an indicator of the quality of ventilation. A poorly ventilated room will have a concentration of CO2 higher, and COVID-19 is spread more easily.

The union is also asking the ministry to change its methodology, criticized by independent experts and opposition parties. To assess the air quality of a room, Quebec takes an average of three results: an air intake before the start of classes, and therefore without a student, an air intake during a class, and an air intake. air after the windows are open.

FAE President Sylvain Mallette demands that Education Minister Jean-François Roberge hurry: “The government plan seems to downplay the fact that the COVID-19 virus is spread by aerosol. The government can do better by putting in place a coherent and safe ventilation plan that will make it possible to curb the spread of the virus, because at the moment, school personnel are far from reassured, ”he laments in a statement.

More than half of classrooms without mechanical ventilation exceed the target of 1000 ppm CO, according to the Ministry of Education’s own study2 during lessons.

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