“Fundamental ventilation systems”. But they are only there for 5% of the students

The alternative is do-it-yourself

Thus, at almost all departments, it is very likely that they will continue with the adopted “manuscript” as they return permanently to school in attendance. What does it predict? Basically the use of classical natural methods. While in the summer or in the hottest months it is perfectly acceptable to think about always keeping the windows open, a little less in the fall or winter. But last year, in the coldest moments of the year, 40% of students said the windows stood open for virtually the entire duration of the school day. In 1 out of 2 cases, on the other hand, we have chosen to open the windows frequently, eg during time changes or during recreation. Dynamics that, as it is easy to guess, especially in winter, have exacerbated the phenomenon of “cold classrooms”, which are already well present in normal times, let alone with these new precautions. Perhaps for this reason, in some context (at least another 5% of young people said), it was decided to take risks by letting the windows close as much as possible.

The funds are there, but they are not enough

Yet everyone, primarily doctors and school leaders, agree that it is necessary to equip our classrooms with air conditioning and sanitation systems. So why can’t decisive steps be taken? The same Skuola.net tried to summarize the story. Already at the beginning of last school year, the problem was clearly evident. Although the first aid decree approved by the government in early 2021 allocated 150 million euros to schools to be used specifically to deal with the health emergency, we quickly realize that these funds were completely inadequate for such a revolution.

According to estimates prepared by the National Association of Presidia (ANP), in order to equip a medium-sized institution with an efficient ventilation system, about 60 thousand euros would be needed. However, according to the latest statistics from the Ministry of Education’s school building register, there are about 40 thousand buildings currently “active” (including offices, branches, etc.) and used for school life. This makes us understand the mismatch between the funds allocated to the purpose and the number of beneficiaries. And that explains why only a small percentage of students last school year were able to take advantage of these systems.

Principals: “For schools only vague statements”

Which confirms what has been claimed in recent days by the same representatives of school leaders. As Cristina Costarelli, president of ANP Lazio and head teacher at the “Newton” high school in Rome, emphasized, “absolutely nothing has been done on this issue in schools. Guidelines are expected from February, but there is still deafening silence. So far there is only recommendations that give vague indications. ”By making it clear how the situation in schools is in many ways the same as in that pre-pandemic period.

And as if that were not enough, to aggravate the situation further, there is the age-old problem with the so-called “chicken farm classes”, far from solved. Therefore, Costarelli expects, at least as far as his institute is concerned, “we will start again in September with classrooms that will exceed 30 students, in rooms that cannot accommodate them, with a completely inadequate ventilation speech and the recommendation to open the windows, which, to date, is the only measure specified for air recirculation “.

Doctors: “We need guidelines”

In support of the principals’ struggle, as mentioned, there are also large sections of the scientific community who, moreover, not only repeat what they now know, but try to find possible “sustainable” solutions from an economic point of view. The Italian Society for Environmental Medicine (SIMA) has commented on this point in recent days, which, although it , or rather has never started on the right foot.There is a complete lack of guidelines for the type of intervention that can be performed in the departments and on the most suitable technologies for any type of need, and the principals are left to themselves without a guide to orient themselves , as the state delegates all decisions to individual schools in the name of school autonomy ”, he tried to find a way out.

As claimed by the President of SIMA, Alessandro Miani, “the alternative is mechanized ventilation systems (VMC) of the air already successfully used in the Marche region (which can be combined with both CO2 monitoring and trioxide decontamination devices). Tungsten), capable of to dilute the biological pollutants in the air (viruses and bacteria in the first instance) thanks to the introduction of new pre-filtered air from the outside and removal of old air inside. ”But an excellent solution would also be“ air purifiers with high-performance HEPA filters or with DFS (disinfection cleaning) filters for the removal of nanoparticles, the so-called nanometric filtration of particles up to twenty times smaller. coronavirus, is used in all major U.S. school districts “.

The importance of air surveillance

Finally, Miani also argues that the most important thing, regardless of which system is adopted, remains “the continuous monitoring of CO2 in the classrooms with scientifically validated smart traffic light devices (NDIR and PAS technologies), a reliable indirect indicator of the risk of diffusion transmission. in the case of infected students or teachers, so much so that the probability of infection from COVID is reduced to less than 1% if it is possible to guarantee an optimal level of air quality in the classroom.

The latter, also points out Daniele Grassucci, director of Skuola.net, “if nothing else, they would allow, at all limited costs and certainly lower than a sanitary or air treatment system, to know when the air in a classroom becomes saturated with carbon dioxide and therefore with viruses, in case of positives in the classroom without suitable individual devices such as FFP2 masks. Invites to open the windows only when there is a real need for it “.

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