Every classroom and nursery across Aberdeenshire will soon have a CO2 monitor in a bid to improve ventilation and prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Aberdeenshire Council has recently purchased more than 2400 monitors that will let teachers know when more fresh air is needed during classes.
The Scottish Government made £10m available to local authorities last year to support CO2 monitoring and ventilation in schools.
Aberdeenshire Council used its allocated share of the funding to buy CO2 monitors for all of its teaching and learning spaces across the local authority’s schools and nurseries.
At a meeting of the Education and Children’s Services Committee on Thursday, education director Laurence Findlay said the monitors would “assist ongoing efforts to support good ventilation in schools which has been an area of concern”.
Billy Bilsland, treasurer of the Aberdeenshire EIS, welcomed the monitors and said the air filters would be “useful” post-Covid in managing airflow in classrooms and added that they could allow schools to be “healthier places in the long run”.
However, councillor Martin Ford noted the milder winter weather had helped to ventilate schools.
He said: “We have been enormously helped by what has been very benign January weather compared to last year and indeed most years.
“We’ve had a lot of not terribly cold still conditions and I guess that might have been even critical in terms of being able to allow some schools to both ventilate and keep temperatures at a reasonable level.”
Mr Findlay noted that while some parts of the region felt milder conditions others have experienced cooler temperatures but agreed that the mild winter so far “has helped”.
Giving an update on Covid numbers following the return of schools after the Christmas break Mr Findlay said that while cases in teachers had stabilised to around 100, the number of cases in pupils had increased.
He said that the number of pupil cases had jumped from just over 100 before the break to 1200 last week (week commencing January 17) and revealed that in a school of 27 pupils a total of 22 children had the virus.
Mr Findlay noted that Covid was still putting a “huge amount of pressure” on the education system but schools across the region were following mitigations put in place by the Scottish Government.
He added: “We are grateful to all our young people for continuing to adhere to these measures, including face coverings, and also thankful to our staff for all the efforts that they are putting in to keep the show on the road.”
By local democracy reporter Kirstie Topp