Ventilation improvement measures have been implemented at Wellington Catholic District School Board. Ministry of Education investments have allowed Ontario School Boards to optimize and improve ventilation and air filtration in schools. These investments have allowed the Board to install new HVAC equipment in several schools, upgrade filters to MERV 13, review and assess the operation of all HVAC equipment and controls and to purchase approximately 550 portable HEPA filtration units.
Filtering the Air
Wellington Catholic has secured the placement of a portable HEPA filtration unit in each occupied Elementary and Secondary classroom including libraries and some special purpose rooms. In addition, the maintenance department is ensuring the upgraded filters in existing mechanical systems are replaced prior to the start of school and the replacement frequency is increased throughout the school year.
Maximizing Outdoor Air
Wellington Catholic has completed a review of the HVAC equipment to ensure that the outside air intakes are set at the optimum percentage opening to provide the optimum amount of outdoor air while balancing building comfort in both the heating and cooling seasons.
Capital investments to Improve Ventilation
Wellington Catholic is investing approximately $2.5 M to upgrade HVAC equipment in several schools. These improvements were funded through the annual Renewal and School Condition grants as well as the Federal COVID Resilience Infrastructure and the Climate Action Incentive Funding. In addition, the systems are set to run at optimum outdoor air intake a minimum of two hours before school starts and two hours after it ends to refresh the air before arrival and at the end of the day.
An assessment of the mechanical ventilation systems has been conducted to ensure they are fully operational and service is carried out where necessary. The Board continues to prioritize repairs for all mechanical systems to optimize air flow, increase fresh air intake and increase the amount of air exchanges per day in the buildings.
Understanding Ventilation Systems in Wellington Catholic DSB
Ventilation moves a combination of filtered indoor air and outdoor fresh air into a building or a room, and distributes the air within the building or room for the purpose of controlling indoor air quality within the spaces.
ALL Wellington Catholic District School Board Schools are mechanically ventilated. In addition, ALL Wellington Catholic Schools are air conditioned (with the exception of gymnasiums which are fully mechanically ventilated).
This mechanical ventilations is provided by motor-driven fans. These systems may include supply fans which push outdoor air into a building and exhaust fans which expel indoor air out of a building. These systems also condition the air through the use of heating and cooling equipment so that comfortable indoor temperatures are maintained.
Other means of ventilation can include natural ventilation in which outdoor air is delivered to the space primarily by air diffusion effects through opening doors, windows or other intentional openings in buildings. These means are available at Wellington Catholic, but mechanical ventilation is the primary source of ventilation in our schools.
In addition to the Wellington Catholic District School Board operating mechanical ventilation in all schools and administrative buildings, all occupied classrooms have been equipped with HEPA filtration units. HEPA filters are clinically proven to reduce the spread of airborne infections by removing viruses, bacteria and allergens. The use of HEPA filtration units, in combination with enhanced ventilation strategies and health and safety measures, reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission and support a safe working and learning environment for staff and students.