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Guildford-based Covid Study Monitors Air Quality in Schools

Published on: 30 Mar, 2022
Updated on: 1 Apr, 2022

A classroom fitted with the air quality monitors

By Mia Paltridge

work experience reporter

Scientists based at the University of Surrey in Guildford are working on a vital project aimed at investigating the risk of Covid 19 through air transmission. The study involves monitoring air quality in schools and could provide information on preventative measures that will be a step towards a return to normal life.

The study has already provided 60,000 hours of data from school classrooms regarding air quality and its correlations to the transmissibility of Covid 19.

The research forms part of the collaborative project CO-TRACE, led by Professor Prashant Kumar.

The scientists have rolled out 300,000 CO2 monitors to classrooms in Guildford and the wider Surrey area, allowing teachers to monitor air patterns and make informed decisions on when to ventilate their classrooms.

Monitors provided run on a simplified traffic light system, in which levels of CO2 are monitored by the colours green, yellow and red. Teachers have been provided with training by CO-TRACE in order to manage air levels.

Professor Kumar, founding director of GCARE at the University of Surrey, said: “It’s crucial that we give teachers all the tools and information they need to keep their classroom as Covid safe as possible for children, particularly in colder months where balancing warmth and Covid safety is a particularly tricky balance.

“The sad reality is that Covid-19 will remain a part of our lives, but we are confident that our guidance, the monitors and our commitment to sharing knowledge with schools across the country are a strong step in the right direction.”.

CO-TRACE is a collaborative project involving the University of Surrey, Imperial College London and Universities of Cambridge.

Professor Paul Linden, of the University of Cambridge, said it was proposed to roll out additional sensors to 2,000 schools that will record CO2 levels and send the information to a central hub for analysis. This will help provide a national picture and assess areas of high risk of the airborne spread of Covid-19 and other respiratory diseases.

See also: Local Covid-19 Stats

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