A recent article in The Conversation discusses the importance of ventilation in classrooms - not only due to COVID-19 but also to allow students to perform their best, unhindered by carbon dioxide’s decreased cognitive performance. With children spending over six hours daily in classrooms, we must look towards better school ventilation solutions.
The article, written by Patricia Fabian, an associate professor of environmental health at Boston University and Jonathan Levy, a professor and chair of the department of environmental health at Boston University, looks into the issue of poor ventilation, which currently plagues many schools worldwide.
The two authors point out how the upcoming school year is particularly problematic. Not only are most schools older and poorly ventilated, but the CDC has scaled back other COVID-19 prevention measures such as masking and testing. With these new changes, ventilation is one of the only forms of prevention measures schools can take.
While COVID-19 attracts most of the focus for improving indoor air ventilation, there are plenty of other reasons why ventilation needs to be improved. Not only does excess carbon dioxide buildup (which occurs when there is a lack of ventilation) decrease cognitive ability and therefore decrease exam grades and performance, but hot, stuffy classrooms and cold classrooms also make it more difficult for students to learn.
Since so many schools currently have older buildings which are often in poor condition and lack ventilation, some changes are needed. To give students and staff the safest environment, the writers suggest schools invest in air filtering units and ventilation upgrades.
However, further actions are also needed to ensure that future schools and classrooms don’t suffer from the same issues as today. This means addressing ventilation requirements and creating more healthy buildings - especially classrooms - in the future.