Three Pictou County schools to get upgraded ventilation systems

OLIVIA MALLEY THE NEWS olivia.malley @OliviaMalley With files from SaltWire Network



SaltWire Network


With the Omicron variant of COVID-19 still a concern as kids return to school later this month (as of Jan. 7) the province of Nova Scotia will be upgrading ventilation systems in schools, including three in Pictou County. Pictou Academy, Trenton Elementary and West Pictou Consolidated will be of those schools receiving HEPA filtration units. Jennifer Rodgers, communications manager for the Chignecto Central Regional Centre for Education says it is anticipated that the units will be installed by the school board the week of Jan. 9- Jan. 15. Natural/passive ventilation systems, which the three Pictou County schools in question have, are systems that use natural forces to move air, like wind velocity and convection. Meanwhile active ventilation, which will be what the schools are upgraded to have, uses a mechanical system to create airflow. During the COVID-19 briefing on Jan. 3, Houston said that while Public Health has not identified any issues with ventilation in schools they want to be responsive. “So we are looking at those schools [with natural ventilation][...] I think it is about 70 schools in number, but that is an active file, seeing what we can do in terms of setting up systems in the classrooms there. So it is happening in real time,” Houston said during the briefing. Nova Scotia Teachers Union president Paul Wozney was pleased with the upgrades that were announced. “This is arguably the first time that we’ve seen government tangibly take into account union proposals for what it takes to have safe, sustainable in-person learning and actually spend the money and implement those changes,” Wozney said after the briefing.