The weather in Queensland means that ventilation of learning spaces and indoor settings can often occur naturally by opening windows and doors. Learning, activities and lunches can reasonably be relocated to outdoor settings.
Opening windows and doors, where it is safe to do so and weather permitting, can help to bring more fresh air into these settings. Increasing fresh air flow by having a number of windows partially open, rather than 1 window fully open, can help to maximise natural ventilation across the room without causing discomfort.
Do not open windows or doors if doing so poses a safety or health risk (such as falling or triggering asthma symptoms).
Ensure air conditioners are maintained, clean and functioning properly. Systems should be serviced regularly and filters checked, cleaned and replaced according to manufacturer's instructions.
Where possible, ensure air conditioner settings draw air from outside and are not set to recirculate indoor air.
Use of fans
Where separate fresh air fans are installed, they should be utilised either with or without air conditioning systems to promote cross flow of air.
As with air conditioning, fresh air fans require filters to be checked, cleaned and replaced according to manufacturer's instructions. If a fresh air fan is not functioning, the fan should be repaired following standard processes.
Monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2)
The more people in a space, the more the CO2 will increase, depending on the effectiveness of ventilation and the size of the space.
If you have attempted to improve natural ventilation, or mechanical ventilation through fans and air conditioning systems, but still have concerns, air quality can be measured using CO2 monitors. CO2 monitors can give an indication of whether the ventilation within the room meets the department’s high standards of safety requirements.
To accurately measure CO2 levels in learning spaces, staff areas and other indoor settings:
- install a CO2 monitor in a location with unobstructed air flow
- ensure the monitor is not installed at or near a window, near the air supply of a mechanical ventilation system, within 2 metres of where people would usually sit or stand or where there may be concentrated exhaled air
- the CO2 monitor should be installed at a height relatively level with the height of occupants, between 0.5 and 2 metres above the floor
- collect data during normal school operations where people are likely to be in the room between 6 to 8 hours a day.
These links provide a range of resources to support the departments strategies on air quality: