PEI

HEPA filters in classrooms 'a short-term measure' to prevent COVID-19 spread

P.E.I.’s Treasury Board has approved the purchase of HEPA filters for classrooms in schools without mechanical ventilation.

‘In the next couple of years, we are going to see those upgrades completed’

Mechanical ventilation will be installed in the next couple of years, says Education Minister Natalie Jameson. (Province of PEI)

P.E.I.'s Treasury Board has approved the purchase of HEPA filters for classrooms in schools without mechanical ventilation.

The filters would be installed to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Education Minister Natalie Jameson announced the purchase during question period Wednesday in response to a question from Green MLA Steve Howard. Howard is looking for mechanical ventilation in the 10 Island schools that do not have it.

"The treasury board has approved the purchase of 150 HEPA filters for classrooms where the ventilation systems aren't in order," Jameson said.

Problems with ventilation at Parkside Elementary School were identified in 2012. (CBC)

"Those will be a short-term measure, but certainly, in the next couple of years, we are going to see those upgrades completed."

Howard expressed frustration, noting that ventilation has been a known issue at Parkside Elementary since 2012.

Public Schools Branch director Norbert Carpenter was pleased to hear the news. He said the operation of schools is the responsibility of the branch, but the cost of ventilation improvements was out of its reach.

"We were all about improving ventilation if we can improve ventilation. It does come with a huge price tag and obviously we needed support with that," said Carpenter.

Carpenter said ventilation in schools has been an ongoing conversation, particularly as science progressed about how COVID-19 spreads.

With files from Kerry Campbell and Steve Bruce

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