Asset review and ventilation
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Asset review and ventilation

NSW Public School's Asset review and preparation for return of face to face teaching

School Infrastructure NSW are supporting all NSW public schools with advice and support on a range of COVID-safe measures. This will help them to operate a safe working and learning environment.

Principals are being supported with an individualised school ventilation report, as well as support from their local Asset Services Officer and additional hygiene supply packs and cleaning services so they can operate their school in a COVID-safe way.

Maintaining good hygiene, using personal protective equipment and maintaining physical distancing remain important factors in reducing the risk of COVID-19 transmission. This is in addition to onsite restrictions and vaccinations.
 

School asset audit and readiness

The department has conducted a state-wide review of all windows, fans and ventilation systems in more than 150,000 spaces across our more than 2200 public schools, including preschools, to ensure our schools can operate them as intended.  This included checking:

  • 650,000+ windows
  • 200,000+ ceiling and wall fans
  • 19,000+ extractor fans

The audit confirms the majority of spaces in schools can be adequately ventilated through natural and mechanically assisted ventilation. Indoor spaces in individual schools have been categorised and each school will be provided with and supported by an individual ventilation audit report and their Local Asset Services Officer.
 

Local and international research and advice

NSW Health advice, along with other independent expert advice from Steensen Varming and guidance from the Doherty Institute and the World Health Organisation, tells us that maximising natural ventilation in our learning spaces is the most effective method for minimising the spread of COVID-19 as it is a very effective way to disperse particles in the air. This can be best achieved by opening doors and windows.

What does the advice and research tell us?

  • Maximise natural ventilation
  • Opening windows and doors
  • Ventilation is one of a range of effective measures which also includes as masks and vaccinations

Ventilation in schools

  • Ventilation fact sheet
  • Maximising ventilation in COVID-safe school operations

We will continue to provide support to schools to adapt lessons and make full use of all school facilities, including outdoor learning areas.

Our advice and the outcome of the audit identifies that we can operate schools safely with the proper use of fresh air ventilation only.

We are confident that the vast majority of spaces in schools can be adequately ventilated through natural and mechanically assisted ventilation.

There will be times when maximising natural ventilation may not be the only suitable option to implement in teaching spaces, for example due to bushfire smoke or poor air quality. In these instances, air purification systems will be provided to schools to improve air quality in teaching spaces. We are purchasing a number of air purifiers to address these issues as they arise to ensure we can mobilise resources and support that will improve air quality in teaching spaces.
 

Masks and face coverings

NSW Health has advised that wearing a mask is an important part of reducing the risk of transmission and protecting people’s health.

We are providing personal protective equipment including masks and face shields to schools, so they can provide a safe and healthy environment for students and staff.

Schools can order additional supplies as the need arises.
 

Hygiene supply packs

We are providing hygiene supply packs to all schools, delivered directly to the school site. These packs contain a number of hygiene and cleaning products such as masks, gloves, hand sanitiser and surface wipes.

Schools can order additional supplies as the need arises.
 

Continuation of enhanced cleaning

Cleaning schools remains essential work and continues daily at every school in NSW. Our local School Infrastructure NSW offices are working to minimise any impact from COVID-19 restrictions.

Enhanced cleaning arrangements are in place, including:

  • an additional 25% of cleaning, provided in addition to the standard daily clean
  • day cleaners wipe down high-touch surfaces
  • schools and workplaces receive supplies of hygiene products
  • bathrooms are well stocked with hand soap and paper towels/hand dryers
  • hand sanitiser is provided, where appropriate.
     

Resources

Links to: