A recent study has investigated the relationship between illness rates and classroom ventilation rates in 144 classrooms across 31 schools in the Midwestern United States over a two-day period every fall, winter and spring for two years.
While we already know that carbon dioxide concentrations can impact the absence rates in a classroom, this new study takes a more in-depth look at the impacts of PM2.5 on illness-related absences.
The findings are telling, as they found that each extra 1 L/s per person increase in ventilation rate and every 1 μg/m3 increase in indoor PM2.5 were associated with a 5.59 decrease and a 7.37 increase in days with absences per year. Turning these numbers into percentages, that is a 0.15% increase and 0.19 % decrease in the annual daily attendance rate.
Coupled with what we already know about carbon dioxide and its impacts on classroom attendance rates, these studies show just how important ventilation is in classrooms. Not only can better ventilation lead to better productivity and exam scores, but it can also lower absence rates which can have far-reaching impacts.
If you’re interested in reading more about this study, you can do so here.