Calgary schools are experiencing unprecedented levels of respiratory illnesses
Trailer installed outside the Alberta Children’s Hospital emergency department after an overwhelming surge of sick children this winter. (Image source: CBC News)
This past school year, Calgary has seen unprecedented levels of paediatric respiratory illnesses including COVID-19, RSV and influenza in schools. This constant illness contributes significantly to student and staff absences, our overwhelmed healthcare system and continued educational disruption. In November, a trailer was installed outside of the Alberta Children’s Hospital emergency room in response to the overwhelming surge of sick children.
Good indoor air quality is critical to reducing respiratory illnesses and improving learning outcomes for students
Our children spend the majority of their waking hours in school classrooms. Improving indoor air quality, in addition to helping reduce respiratory illnesses, also has positive impacts on cognitive function and learning outcomes (even test scores!), and is increasingly important given the occurrence of hazards like wildfire smoke.
Edmonton Public School Board is putting HEPA filters in all classrooms
Edmonton Public Schools purchased HEPA filters for all classrooms this school year. (Source: CTV News)
Following the advice of engineers and industry experts on improving indoor air quality across all schools, Edmonton Public Schools purchased units for all classrooms in 2022. Some private schools in Calgary have followed suit.
Shockingly, in Calgary, HEPA Filters purchased by parents to protect their kids are prohibited and have even been removed from classrooms by the Calgary Board of Education. The Calgary Catholic School District has also failed to take adequate action to ensure good air quality in all its schools. CO2 meters carried by students into classrooms have recently exposed just how poor the air circulation is in some Calgary classrooms remains.
4 simple steps for Calgary school boards to improve indoor air quality
Image source: CBC News
Ensuring good indoor air quality for students isn’t complicated or expensive. That’s why we are urging Calgary school boards to act in accordance with the ASHRAE Epidemic Task Force and Alberta Health Services Guidelines and calls from the Alberta Medical Association Sections of Pediatrics and Emergency Medicine to:
- Conduct ventilation system assessments of every school
- Be transparent about where improvements have and still need to be made
- Allow in-room air cleaners (i.e. HEPA air purifiers, Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes) to be used in school classrooms.
- Incorporate ventilation monitoring to give Calgary families information about the ventilation in schools, like Boston Public Schools
SIGN THE PETITION: We need your help to tell Calgary School Boards to clean up their indoor air-quality
Show your support for better air quality in Calgary schools.