Aberdeenshire Council has recently purchased more than 2,400 monitors that will let teachers know when more fresh air is needed during classes.
A Scottish Government funding package of £10 million for the delivery of CO2 monitoring in schools was confirmed with Convention of Scottish Local Authorities leaders at the end of August last year.
This was in addition to the £90 million of funding that was previously provided to local authorities for Covid logistics, which was made available for use for a range of purposes, including improved ventilation.
Aberdeenshire Council used its allocated share of the funding to buy CO2 monitors for all of its teaching and learning spaces across the local authority’s schools and nurseries.
At a meeting of the Education and Children’s Services Committee on Thursday, January 27 education director Laurence Findlay said the monitors would “assist ongoing efforts to support good ventilation in schools which has been an area of concern”.
Billy Bilsland, treasurer of the Aberdeenshire EIS, welcomed the monitors and said the air filters would be “useful” post Covid in managing airflow in classrooms and added that they could allow schools to be “healthier places in the long run.”
However councillor Martin Ford noted the milder winter weather had helped to ventilate schools.
He said: “We have been enormously helped by what has been very benign January weather compared to last year and indeed most years.
“We’ve had a lot of not terribly cold still conditions and I guess that might have been even critical in terms of being able to allow some schools to both ventilate and keep temperatures at a reasonable level.”
Mr Findlay noted that while some parts of the region felt milder conditions others have experienced cooler temperatures but agreed that the mild winter so far “has helped”.
Giving an update on Covid numbers following the return of schools after the Christmas break Mr Findlay said that while cases in teachers had stabilised to around 100, the number of cases in pupils had increased.
He said that the number of pupil cases had jumped from just over 100 before the break to 1,200 last week (week commencing January 17) and revealed that in a school of 27 pupils a total of 22 children had the virus.
Mr Findlay noted that Covid was still putting a “huge amount of pressure” on the education system but schools across the region were following mitigations put in place by the Scottish Government.
He added: “We are grateful to all our young people for continuing to adhere to these measures, including face coverings, and also thankful to our staff for all the efforts that they are putting in to keep the show on the road.”
CO2 monitors will allow staff to quickly identify where ventilation needs to be improved. Letting fresh air into indoor spaces can help remove air that contains virus particles and is important in preventing the spread of Covid-19.