Good air circulation is important in schools to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but unfortunately, the best solution for ventilation in many schools is still an open window.
Tartu Deputy Mayor Gea Kangilaski (SDE) said many ventilation systems can only be completely replaced rather than updated and about half of Tartu's basic schools are waiting for similar repairs. The current pace allows for one school per year.
Kangilaski told ETV's evening news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" on Monday that the council has been trying to resolve the issues with temporary upgrades but it is hard to access their effectiveness before the autumn.
The Ministry of Education and Research has prepared a guide for schools on how to cope when ventilation is not good enough.
Karin Lukk, the director of Kivilinna School, said the instructions are practical, but each school head must see for themselves what can be implemented.
"What we have been trying to do is make it clear that when students leave the classroom, the rooms are well ventilated. The window is also kept open during the hour, but it depends a lot on the weather. If the weather gets cold, keeping this window open is a concern. What is easier to do is keep the door open and the hallway window open. We have also tried this. When measured with a CO2 meter, it is still above normal in a very full hour," Lukk said.
The ministry also recommends applying forced ventilation systems to run at a higher capacity. Professor Jarek Kurnitsky of Tallinn University of Technology said that this will lead to higher energy consumption.
"Compared to everything else that the epidemic has brought, it is still a small thing. Energy bills are increasing a bit, mainly during the cold winter months," Kurnitsky said.
In addition, Kurnitski said that a balance must be found between heating capacity and ventilation in older gyms. Some systems do not allow hot and fresh air at the same time.
Editor: Roberta Vaino