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All Yukon classrooms will have HEPA filters soon

Every Yukon classroom will have a portable air filtration unit by the end of the school year, according to the territory’s Department of Education.

Territorial gov’t has deployed 316 of 396 so far

One of many different types of HEPA filters that removes particles from the air, including those that may contain COVID-19. The Yukon Department of Education says it has distributed at least one to every school so far and by the end of the school year, every classroom will have one. (CBC)

Every Yukon classroom will have a portable air filtration unit by the end of the school year, according to the territory's Department of Education.

Ryan Sikkes, assistant deputy minister of schools and students services, said the high efficiency particulate air filters, commonly referred to as HEPA filters, provide an extra layer of protection against COVID-19.

HEPA filters can help clear out coronavirus particles, reducing the viral load in the air. 

He said the department started deploying the units at the start of the school year, giving priority to portables and other learning spaces with poor air circulation.

"We've deployed 316 units and we have 80 left to deliver," he said, adding they cost approximately $200,000 in total and that there is least one HEPA filter in every school now.

He said the department acquired enough filters so that every shared learning space can have one.

"We don't have enough for like every room and every office in every building, but wherever students are gathering in groups, like virtually every classroom will have a HEPA filter in it shortly," he said.

He said the department has been working closely with the acting medical officer of health to look at all the ways they could keep schools safe during the pandemic.

"Building ventilation was one of those things that has been consistently monitored and assessed," said Sikkes.

He said officials took another look at their options during the recent Omicron surge and decided to provide more HEPA filters.

With files from Jackie Hong

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