School Ventilation Upgrades

Since 2020, the OCDSB has taken considerable measures to improve ventilation and air quality in all schools and properties.

This work has focused on:

  • Upgrading heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems
  • Adding nearly 2400 additional HEPA air filtration units to provide further air filtration support 

HVAC System Upgrades and Improvements

The OCDSB has a variety of schools across the district, which feature different HVAC systems. We have focused on reviewing and upgrading each HVAC system and considerable work has been done. 

The OCDSB has created a Standardized School Ventilation Measures Report (Excel file), which provides a snapshot of school ventilation and filtration measures taken at each school. In addition, we have also compiled additional details according to school at the links below.

In general, this work includes:

  • The recommissioning of all HVAC equipment, which required operational testing/inspection, repairs as needed, thorough cleaning and filter changes, and the reprogramming of ventilation systems.
  • All ventilation systems were reprogrammed to comply with the ASHRAE standards and public health recommendations, including: creating purge cycles that exchange the building air with outdoor air; increasing ventilation rates during other school hours to a fixed, constant rate; and operating ventilation systems longer (two hours before and after occupancy).
  • All schools have been provided with upgraded filtration systems either by augmenting existing filters to MERV-13 type or by introducing permanent UV filtration.
  • Additional CO2 monitors continue to be installed across the district (see more on CO2 monitoring below).
  • Long-term measures were initiated to implement infrastructure upgrades at various sites in order to provide increased ventilation capability and/or add permanent filtration options.

HEPA Filtration Units

More than 2300 portable HEPA air filtration units have been deployed throughout the District to support the ventilation systems. An additional 81 units are expected to be received in January 2022 and distributed to schools.

We have prioritized the distribution of these units according to criteria provided from the Ministry of Education:

  • Any rooms or areas where increased ventilation measures were not possible due to the nature of the HVAC equipment or are subject to gathering of staff/students. This may include libraries, lunchrooms, staff rooms, admin and staff offices, child care spaces, multipurpose rooms and gymnasiums.
  • Isolation Rooms with a higher potential for airborne virus particles;
  • Classrooms where the more important steps of wearing masks, hand washing and distancing may not be achievable. This included all special program classrooms and all junior and senior kindergarten rooms across the District.
  • All portable classrooms
  • Any classrooms with HVAC system upgrade projects ongoing
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