The Toronto District School Board is asking their students to bundle up this winter as the windows will be periodically opened to try and curb the spread of COVID-19.
In a letter to parents on Thursday night, the TDSB said in addition to daily self-assessments, regular hands washing, mask-wearing and physical distancing, Toronto Public Health also said increasing fresh air is an “important strategy” to slow the spread of the virus.
“Over the past few months, the TDSB has checked all mechanical HVAC systems to ensure they are operating as designed, increased the frequency of filter changes, adjusted systems to increase the amount of fresh air and reduce recirculation, added portable HEPA air filter units in classrooms where mechanical ventilation is not an option, and opened windows where possible,” the letter said.
As the winter is approaching, the local health units are recommending that windows in classrooms be opened for a period of time, at different points of the day “to introduce fresh air into the space and increase airflow.”
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The TDSB said heating systems will be turned up, but naturally, schools will be cooler than normal.
“We recognize it is very much a balance between introducing more ventilation at various times during the day and maintaining a comfortable indoor air temperature in classrooms. Please keep this in mind as your child gets ready for school each day by considering an extra layer of clothing to ensure comfort throughout the day,” the school board added.
During the second COVID-19 wave, schools have remained open. While the notion of a prolonged winter break initially seemed like a possibility, Lecce announced last week that it would not be necessary as schools have “low levels of transmission.”
The new total of coronavirus cases in Ontario schools has now reached 4,470 since students returned to the classroom.
There have been 1,180 school-related cases in just two weeks, with 3,290 reported 14 or more days before that.
The province now confirms six school closures out of the 671 schools that have cases.