Council to put CO2 monitors in schools to tackle virus in air

A rollout costing up to £500k will aimd to improve ventilation using the devices.

Council to put CO2 monitors in schools to tackle virus in air iStock
The monitors determine if there is enough ventilation or if windows and vents need to be opened.

A Scottish council will spend up to £500,000 to install carbon dioxide monitors in schools in response to Covid-19 guidance.

Perth and Kinross councillors agreed to the investment when they met on June 23 to track airflow in classrooms.

The move comes in response to updated coronavirus guidance from the Scottish Government suggesting local authorities consider investing in the monitors.

The monitors detect how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is in a space helping to determine if there is enough ventilation or if windows and vents need to be opened.

At last week’s meeting, councillors were told the revised guidance “helps improve air quality across the school estate”.

A great deal of importance has been placed on ventilation during the pandemic to reduce how much virus is in the air.

A report presented to councillors said prior to Perth and Kinross Council receiving the updated guidance officers visited and risk-assessed every council property and allocated £300,000 on ensuring building ventilation was “operational and adequate for occupants”.

In response to the latest guidance and to ensure compliance it was proposed a mixture of networked and standalone CO2 monitors be installed across Perth and Kinross schools at a cost of up to £500,000.

Councillors unanimously approved transferring £500,000 from the COVID-19 earmarked reserve towards the installation of monitors as part of the recommendations laid out in an update on Perth and Kinross Council’s revenue budget.

SNP councillor Richard Watters asked if they would be installed in offices for the safety of council employees as potentially more staff return to council offices.

The council’s chief operating officer Karen Donaldson said they had already been installed in some buildings during refurbishment such as the Perth headquarters at 2 High Street.

Ms Donaldson said: “There are no plans to put them in every building at this point in time but that will be considered because of the benefits associated with that.

“But it will be looked at on a case by case basis.”

Story by local democracy reporter Kathryn Anderson