Virus-free air in schools and nurseries
Difficulties with ventilation – Will portable air purifiers mean a return to face-to-face teaching? MANN+HUMMEL discusses the use of air purifiers in schools and nurseries at a virtual round table discussion. Experts demand clearer government policies and unbureaucratic solutions.
Ludwigsburg, 26 February 2021 – After the success of the first round table discussion on the use of mobile air purifiers during the coronavirus pandemic, MANN+HUMMEL hosted a second one on 24 February. The topic of discussion this time was the current situation in schools and nurseries in line with the gradual return to the classroom in many German states.
The panel, which included Christina Metke, Managing Director of the Association of German Private Schools in Baden-Württemberg, Waltraud Weegmann, Head of the Association of German Nurseries, Frank Spehl, Director of R&D Air Filtration Europe at MANN+HUMMEL Life Sciences & Environment (LS&E) and Jan-Eric Raschke, Director of Air Solution Systems at MANN+HUMMEL LS&E, discussed how air filters could help with the gradual reopening of these establishments. Both Metke and Weegmann talked about their experiences in implementing coronavirus hygiene concepts in schools and nurseries, and about the challenges that many institutions are currently facing.
The panel of experts agreed that portable air purifiers, along with the current rules regarding social distancing, hygiene measures, mask-wearing and ventilation, play a vital role in fighting the pandemic and should therefore be included in every comprehensive hygiene concept for schools and nurseries.
Waltraud Weegmann pointed out that the current hygiene measures are very difficult to implement, especially in the case of small children, and that air purifiers are therefore a very important aspect for hygiene concepts in nurseries. She also made reference to the long-term benefits of the devices and the fact that they are therefore a wise investment: “The use of technical solutions such as air purifiers leads to increased safety and confidence among staff, parents and children, and effectively protects them, even after the end of the coronavirus pandemic, for example against colds and flu.” The Head of the Association of German Nurseries also drew attention to the lack of funding for nurseries and called for more support to be provided for the ‘youngest members of society’ in policy.
The Managing Director of the Association of German Private Schools in Baden-Württemberg, Christina Metke, also considers air purifiers to be a key measure in the gradual return to ‘normal school life’ and stated that currently, in many places, it’s mostly the parents who are pushing for these types of devices to be purchased. With regard to the funding provided, Metke is also calling for greater consideration of practicality and clearer guidelines: “The general conditions of the funding programmes often aren't compatible with the reality in schools. Additionally, the market is saturated with information right now. What I would like to see from the public sector is clearer guidelines and recommendations.”
Jan Eric-Raschke, Director of Air Solution Systems at MANN+HUMMEL LS&E, confirmed that the current information situation is rather confusing and often lacks the necessary scientific and technological foundation. MANN+HUMMEL believes it is therefore even more important to actively raise awareness here and provide a broad range of information: “When an institution such as a school or nursery chooses to purchase a portable air purifier, they want to be sure that the device meets the highest quality standards and will live up to its claims in the long term.”
When it comes to the quality of air purification devices, Frank Spehl, Director of R&D Air Filtration Europe at MANN+HUMMEL LS&E, five key criteria that must be considered when purchasing one of these devices. It is essential that the devices have the CE marking. The HEPA filters should also be certified to the EN 1822 standard, because the term HEPA is not protected, and should be at least class H13. In order for the air in a room to be replaced five to six times an hour, the air purifier must also push through sufficiently high air flow rates whilst also operating very quietly. The ventilation expert hopes that in the future better use will made of existing technology on the market as social and economic life goes back to normal and that this technology will be used accordingly.
The virtual round table discussion was attended by numerous people from the areas of politics, public administration, education, health and industry, who submitted their questions to the experts.
MANN+HUMMEL is thrilled with the positive response to the second round table discussion: “Through our use of this format, we want to encourage dialogue and discussion on responsible ways out of the pandemic and help to inform the public, and we think this is something we have achieved with the round table discussion,” says Raschke.
The event was recorded and can be watched using the following link: https://youtu.be/qk0-g9bV1BU.