McNamara questions Education Minister about open windows in classrooms

Michael McNamara, Independent TD for Clare, has received confirmation from the Minister for Education that updated guidance has been issued to schools in relation to ventilation practices in the classroom.

Minister Norma Foley was responding to a Parliamentary Question by Deputy McNamara in which he asked if the Minister would consider directing school principals and teachers to allow students to wear additional layers of clothing including coats, hats and scarves to offset the effects of windows being opened to improve ventilation in classrooms.

“I raised the matter after being contacted by numerous parents concerned about windows being left open to ventilate classrooms and the subsequent impact on student health,” explained Deputy McNamara. “Minister Norma Foley responded saying that the Department has this week published updated guidance for schools in line with public health advice in relation to the practical steps for the Deployment of good ventilation practices in schools.”

In her response to Deputy McNamara, the Minister said, “The guidance sets out for schools good ventilation recommendations for improving room ventilation especially in classrooms without causing discomfort and encouraging where possible the opening of doors and windows to increase natural ventilation in particular where climate allows.

“The overall approach for schools should be to have windows open as fully as possible when classrooms are not in use (e.g. during break-times, lunch-times and at the end of each school day) and partially open when classrooms are in use. Windows do not need to be open as wide in colder weather in order to achieve the same level of airflow into the classroom. This will assist in managing comfort levels in classrooms during periods of colder weather,” concluded the Minister.