Dáil debates

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

School Equipment

11:40 am

Photo of Norma FoleyNorma Foley (Kerry, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Managing ventilation is just one of a suite of public health measures in place to keep our schools safe. Updated guidance on practical steps for the deployment of good ventilation practices in schools was provided at the end of May, following the work of an expert group that carefully considered the role of ventilation in managing Covid-19. A copy of the guidance is published on the website www.gov.ie. The overarching approach in the guidance is for schools to have windows open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use and partially open when they are. The guidance outlines that carbon dioxide monitors can play a part in providing a useful general indication that areas or rooms may not be adequately ventilated. They can enable occupants to become familiar with the impacts of activities, outdoor weather and window openings on levels of good ventilation.

My Department procured portable monitors. They are currently being distributed to schools, with allocations of between two and 20 at primary school level and between 20 and 35 at post-primary school level, depending on school size, at an estimated overall cost of €4 million. The monitors are portable, simple to use and will give a digital reading.

Deliveries of carbon dioxide monitors to schools commenced in the third week of August. In total, the process involves over 35,000 monitors being distributed to primary and post-primary schools. Some 25,000 carbon dioxide monitors have been distributed to schools, which has facilitated the provision of monitors to each school. Ninety-six percent of primary schools, including all special schools, have received their full allocation of carbon dioxide monitors. Ten monitors, at a minimum, have been provided to each school at post-primary level, with the balance of each allocation expected to be distributed in October. An issue arose with Lennox over the final balance of carbon dioxide monitors but provision has been made for them to arrive in schools in October. Schools have the autonomy to purchase carbon dioxide monitors locally if they wish and deem it necessary.


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