Poor air quality in schools: the time for committees is over, say oppositions

The Legault government must give schools the means to ensure better air quality in schools to prevent the spread of COVID-19, claim the oppositions.

“This is no longer the time to set up committees, this is no longer the time to make small talk, it is the time to take concrete action,” said the parliamentary leader of Québec solidaire, Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois , Wednesday morning.

This was reacting to a report by Journal where classes tested at the request of a group of doctors revealed high levels of CO2. This presence of carbon dioxide indicates that the rooms are poorly ventilated, a factor that may facilitate the spread of the coronavirus, especially when the windows are closed due to the cold.

In many cases, schools in Quebec do not have mechanical ventilation.

In early November, Québec solidaire proposed to equip all classes with CO detectors.2 and air purifiers. Cost of the bill: $ 86 million. “The $ 86 million was the maximum amount if we deployed the devices everywhere, but indeed, if there are classrooms that are well ventilated and then where it is not necessary, well, a simple CO detector.2 to measure the quality of ventilation, that will suffice, ”Mr. Nadeau-Dubois now specifies.

In the Liberal Party of Quebec, leader Dominique Anglade also urges the government to move forward. Already last July, international scientists sounded the alarm and the World Health Organization recognized that poor ventilation could contribute to the spread of COVID-19.

“We could have already ordered things in August,” says Mme Anglade. Last week and the week before, there were members of the CAQ who said: We do not really know if there is contamination in the air, it is not yet fully proven. Look, I mean, the scientific data is there, we have to move on to the stage where we take action. ”

The péquiste Véronique Hivon, she believes that simple and inexpensive solutions can be put in place, while waiting to install better ventilation systems.

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“One measure that seems obvious to us, for months, is to make half-classes for students of secondary 3, 4 and 5, rather than by full days of alternating classes,” she said. For the moment, the whole group is in class every other day.

Faced with the many calls to action in recent weeks, the Minister of Health, Christian Dubé, created a committee supposed to advise him on the ventilation of classes. Minister Dubé’s office, like that of his colleague in Education, had not reacted to our report when it was time to publish.

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