In advance of the new school year, which commences on Monday 7 February, the West End State School (WESS) P&C today wrote to parents, advising them of the purchase 65 HEPA air filters to assist the school’s risk mitigation against COVID-19.
The HEPA filters (Samsung AX90T7080 Air Purifiers) can filter air and assist as an additional COVID-19 mitigating measure when there is low natural ventilation. It is an added COVID-19 safety measure to the many that the school is implementing when school resumes including using natural ventilation as much as possible, hygiene guidance and strict policies that ensure sick students and staff stay home.
P&C President, Donovan Marsh, said the decision to purchase and install HEPA filters was taken by the P&C to add to the arsenal of COVID-19 measures the school was already using.
“WESS P&C works hard to support the WESS parent and carer community and listens to their concerns. We are fortunate that this is a strong community that consistently contributes to the P&C and so we have the resources available to purchase and install HEPA filters throughout the school,” Mr Marsh said.
“It is one way we can help keep WESS classrooms as the great learning spaces they are and minimise them becoming COVID-19 spreading spaces.”
“We have seen the COVID-19 impact in the broader community during January as well as on the P&C’s workforce and the students the P&C cares for through its vacation care program. It is clear the risk of COVID-19 spreading as the school community comes together again will be there and we want to assist in minimising the risks and any disruptions that would follow,” he said.
Mr Marsh said that health advice and the particular circumstances of WESS contributed to the P&C’s decision.
“The Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) outlines the latest health advice when it comes to room ventilation and COVID-19 risk”
‘Where possible, air flow should be optimised to reduce viral lead within a room to minimise the risk of exposure to airborne infectious material. Increasing natural ventilation through opening windows and doors may assist. However, it is acknowledged this may not be appropriate in some settings, and depends on several factors. Additional measure to consider, include the use of exhaust fans and air cleaning, or purification devices.’
“We know that at WESS it may not always be practical to keep open windows and doors—we are an inner-city school where surrounding construction creates dust and noise at different times of the day, and we need to be mindful that it may not be conducive to effective learning.
“When school resumes there will be almost 1,500 people onsite and it is important that we do what we can to minimise the rapid spread of COVID-19 through the school community and avoid as much as possible any disruption to the school year,” Mr Marsh said.
HEPA FILTER INSTALLMENT FACTS
- All classrooms will have a HEPA filter installed
- P&C spaces (including the office, tuckshop, uniform shop, and OSHC spaces) will have a HEPA filter installed
- Installation is set to occur before school starts on Monday 7 February
- The P&C is funding and installing all HEPA filters
- There has not been a ventilation audit for WESS (since that needs to be conducted with students in the room)—the decision has been based on the potential risk and the AHPPC health advice.
Any enquiries or for further information contact the P&C President, Donovan Marsh on 0408 000 688 or email to email@example.com