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Improvements to school ventilation

Wed, 5 Jan, 2022

News item: Improvements to school ventilation

The health and safety of our students and staff is a priority for our Division. We continue to take steps to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission for students and staff. Measures include good hand hygiene, enhanced cleaning practices, the mandatory use of masks and well-maintained ventilation systems. 


We recognize that ventilation is an important part of keeping staff and students safe. That’s why all of our school buildings meet or exceed the requirements outlined by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 

We also have a number of safety and maintenance processes in place for our ventilation systems. These include:

  • running ventilation systems for an extra two hours before and after regular operating times; this allows for a two-hour building flush before and after staff and students are in the building
  • setting ventilation systems for maximum fresh air intake  
  • installing the most efficient filter possible in each ventilation system
  • scheduling frequent filter changes and annual system inspections
  • installing the highest quality filter possible for each system 


We have done a full review of our current ventilation processes and are committed to exploring additional safety measures. 

Over the winter break, representatives from our Division met with engineers and industry experts to understand what we can do to further improve ventilation. We know there won’t be a one-size-fits all approach for our schools, but based on updated recommendations from the Alberta chapters of ASHRAE, we are looking at how we can further enhance our systems. This includes:

  • adapting existing systems to fit minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) 13 filters
  • in other cases, where installation of MERV-13 filters is not possible, we will be installing in-room air cleaners with either HEPA or MERV-13 filters

We have also issued a Request for Proposals for vendors that can provide additional ventilation units for schools. 


Today, the province announced further information about a return to school next week. We will be providing more information to parents tomorrow.

Read a letter from Superintendent Darrel Robertson about these improvements to school ventilation systems.