£5.9m technology will improve air quality and disinfect classrooms in Welsh schools and universities
The Welsh Government have announced that they will spend £5.9m on technology to improve air quality and disinfect classrooms and lecture theatres in schools, colleges and universities.
Funding for more than 1,800 ozone disinfecting machines and over 30,000 CO2 sensors will be provided for schools, colleges and universities throughout Wales.
The ozone disinfecting machines, costing £3.31m, will reduce cleaning times, improve disinfection and reduce costs.
The funding is expected to supply more than 1,800 machines, at least one for every school, college and university in Wales.
The 30,000 CO2 ‘traffic light’ monitors, costing £2.58m, will include sensors which provide a visual signal of deteriorating internal air quality.
The monitors will alert teachers and lecturers when CO2 levels rise, notifying them when air quality needs to improve, thereby aiding the control of ventilation during the winter.
This will help maintain comfortable temperatures for learners and staff during colder periods, reduce heat loss and save on energy costs, they said.
‘Keep our guard up’
The Minister for Education and Welsh Language, Jeremy Miles, said he was pleased that learners will be able to return to classrooms and lecture theatres in the autumn with fewer restrictions in place.
“This investment in CO2 monitors will help improve air quality, while the disinfecting machines will enable classrooms to return to normal use quicker,” he said.
“This supports our common goal of ensuring learners can continue learning together with their teachers and friends.
“But we must keep our guard up against Covid-19. These measures will complement, rather than replace our current advice – which includes ensuring hygiene is maintained, and washing hands thoroughly and more often than usual.”
Scientists at Swansea University developed an Ozone disinfecting machine, after the time and cost of cleaning rooms was identified as an issue for schools and colleges early in the pandemic.
To address the issue, the Welsh Government asked Swansea University to establish an Ozone Classroom Decontamination Project, backed by Welsh Government funding.
The machines can be used to quickly disinfect classrooms when clusters of Covid-19 or other communicable viruses are identified, such as norovirus.
Dr Chedly Tizaoui of Swansea University, part of the team who designed the ozone disinfection machine, said he was delighted the technology would support efforts to eradicate Covid-19 in Wales.
“Reducing the spread of coronavirus in our educational institutions is vitally important, so our children and students can get back to the classroom,” he said.
“Ozone is potent against Covid-19 virus and due to its gaseous nature, it kills the virus whether be it airborne or adhered to a surface.
“Thanks to the support received from the Welsh Government and the Active Buildings pioneered by SPECIFIC, our research demonstrated that buildings can be Active on the inside and the ozone treatment developed here can be incorporated to support cleaning and disinfection of public buildings.”