CEGEP and universities have thousands of classrooms spread over nearly 2,000 buildings. Are they well ventilated to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission? Quebec has ignored this for now.
According to our data, public health would like to have the same portrait as for primary and middle grades. Carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements taken in 48,000 classrooms have shown that nearly half of them do not meet the provincial standards for satisfactory air quality.
In an email dated February 23, 2021 received by Radio-Canada, Director of Environmental and Occupational Health in Public Health Marion Schnebelen writes that she will have a meeting with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education on the same day “to talk” about ventilation at universities and CEGEP ”. It specifies: “the line of conduct: the same as that of the Ministry of Education for primary and secondary schools.”
Until now, higher education institutions have not had to conduct these tests, as the courses were mostly conducted remotely. But with the return of the students in person in the fall, counting without physical distancing, everything can change.
In terms of the upcoming sessions, the ministry has meetings with public health scheduled for the coming days / weeks.
It is not yet clear what decision will be made.
We have not received such a request from the Ministry of Higher Education.– said the press secretary of the Federal Federation of Lands Judith Laurier.
The Ministry reports that the responsibility for ensuring the health and safety of users lies with the higher educational institutions.
Spokesman Brian St. Louis explains that so far
the preferred approach was that the ministry did not interfere with the duties, but rather encouraged businesses to ensure that health and safety standards and requirements, including ventilation standards, were met and monitored closely under the circumstances…
CO2 sensor tenders have yet to be announced.
Quebec has also pledged to equip each of the province’s 48,000 primary and secondary grades with a computerized CO2 reader. The bid announcement has not yet been published.
A Radio-Canada investigation found that several school service centers did not adhere to the testing protocol exactly, which lowered the results.
One way that has been criticized has been to keep windows open, even during lessons, which is not recommended by public health. Quebec has promised to change the method used.
Education Minister Jean-François Roberge also found himself at the center of controversy when he falsely claimed that the measurement protocol had received public health approval.