Minister needs to get HEPA air filtration into our classrooms urgently – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Education, Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD, has called on the Minister for Education to act urgently to provide HEPA air filtration devices in every classroom that requires them.
High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters remove contaminants such as viruses from the air, reducing airborne transmission in classrooms with insufficient ventilation.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire said
“In December of last year in the Dáil, I called on the Minister for Education to work quickly to tackle ventilation issues in our schools.
“We have long known that Covid is an airborne virus. The response from the Department to this has been sluggish at best.
“The provision of CO2 monitors is insufficient to ensure clean air in our classrooms. Simply monitoring the air quality is not enough. Many classrooms, particularly in older buildings, do not have adequate ventilation. Some smaller special education resource rooms don’t even have windows.
“This, coupled with the fact that monitors are being shared amongst multiple rooms, has led to disastrous consequences.
“Children and teaching staff are freezing in their classrooms, wearing hats and scarves during the school day while the windows are open to try to keep them safe. It shouldn’t have to be this way.
“It is clear that HEPA filtration has a key role to play in ensuring our classrooms have clean air. Whereas CO2 devices can monitor the air quality, HEPA filters actively remove contaminants from the air.
“The Minister has dithered and delayed on ventilation for too long. It is crunch time for our schools. I am calling on the Minister today, to act urgently to examine the provision of HEPA air filtration.
“The Minister keeps telling us she wants to keep schools open and functioning well. We agree, but she has to be willing to do what it takes, and to put her money where her mouth is. That means HEPA filters in classrooms.
“It is not too late, but the Minister must take decisive and urgent action on this without delay."