CO2 monitors will be provided to all state-funded education settings from September, so staff can quickly identify where ventilation needs to be improved.
Backed by a £25 million government investment, the new monitors 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.
As students in England return to classrooms from next week, this is just one of the measures that will be in place in schools to help reduce transmission. Students and staff will also be asked to continue twice-weekly testing, with two on-site tests provided for secondary and college students as they return.
CO2 monitors are portable so schools and other settings will be able to move them around to test their full estate, starting with areas they suspect may be poorly ventilated.
The programme will provide schools and other settings with sufficient monitors to take representative readings from across the indoor spaces in their estate, assessing all spaces in a relatively short space of time.
More details will be available following the completion of procurement, however all schools and colleges are expected to receive at least partial allocations during the autumn term, enabling all settings to monitor areas where they believe airflow may be weakest.
James is the Editor of GovX Digital, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the agenda for the UK's biggest public sector transformation conference.