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Ventilation Projects Improve Air Quality in School Facilities

The Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario has worked diligently over the past year and a half to make significant improvements in optimizing air quality in classrooms and learning environments in all its facilities, with investments totaling $6.8M.  These improvements are a key element in the multiple protective strategies the CDSBEO has in place to support healthy and safe learning environments for students and staff.

The CDSBEO spent approximately $700,000 at all schools across the board to complete third-party assessments of school ventilation systems, complete all necessary maintenance, increase routine inspections and maintenance from quarterly to monthly, and upgrade all air filtration media. All system parameters were adjusted at all schools to ensure that they meet or exceed the Ministry guidelines and current industry standards providing 20 per cent minimum fresh air.

Through the government’s COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Fund (CVRIS), CDSBEO received $4.1M in funding to add or replace a total of 52 roof top units and 26 contactless water bottle filling stations at the following schools:

  • St. Mary CHS, Brockville
  • Bishop Macdonell, Cornwall
  • St. Mary, Carleton Place
  • St. Mary, Chesterville
  • Holy Cross, Kemptville
  • Notre Dame CHS, Carleton Place
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel, Ingleside
  • Pope John Paul, Hammond
  • St. Edward, Westport
  • St. John CHS, Perth
  • St. Joseph CSS, Cornwall
  • St. Michael CHS, Kemptville
  • St. Joseph, Toledo
  • J.L. Jordan, Brockville
  • St. Francis Xavier, Brockville
  • St. John Bosco, Brockville
  • St. Anne, Cornwall
  • St. Matthew CSS
  • St. Francis Xavier CHS, Hammond
  • St. Thomas Aquinas CHS, Russell
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus, Lanark
  • St. Andrew, St. Andrew’s West
  • St. Peter, Cornwall

The CDSBEO has also invested more than $1.4M from its School Renewal and School Condition Improvement funding to improve air quality in schools, including the addition of 14 roof top unit replacements and professional fees to plan for additional improvements in 2021-2022. Upgrades to building automation systems, which optimizes air temperature and exchange in schools, totaled $584,000. Additionally, the board has purchased 343 High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters which were distributed across the jurisdiction. These filters are being placed in all JK/SK classrooms as well as other classrooms and instructional spaces that would benefit from increased air filtration.

Ventilation Projects Improve Air Quality in School Facilities
Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (centre), with CDSBEO Board Chair, Todd Lalonde (right) and Director of Education, John Cameron (left) on the rooftop of St. Mary Catholic High School in Brockville, to view the seven new HVAC units installed at the school this summer.

“With the help of significant investments from the Ministry of Education we’re seeing the quick implementation of initiatives like HEPA filters for improved ventilation and water-bottle filling stations which will have long term benefits, beyond the COVID-19 battle, for students and staff,” said Steve Clark, MPP for Leeds-Grenville-Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes and Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “The wide range of safety and infrastructure upgrades, made in schools across the board, should help ease parent concerns as students return to school next week.”

Minister Clark visited St. Mary Catholic High School in Brockville on Friday, September 3, to see first-hand some of the upgrades and investments completed at the school, in preparation for the new school year, including the installation of seven new rooftop HVAC units totalling $234,000. In addition, $85,000 in School Renewal funding was spent to upgrade the school’s building automation system.

Preliminary plans are also in the works for 2021-2022 air quality improvement projects. At this time, CDSBEO anticipates spending an additional $2.2M to continue to improve air quality in all facilities through upgrades to HVAC and building automation systems, use of higher grade filters and regular inspections and maintenance.

“We are pleased that there have been significant investments to improve air quality in our schools,” noted Board Chair, Todd Lalonde. “These infrastructure upgrades will make an impact for the safety of our staff and students, in addition to the other many health and safety precautions for this school year.”

“The board is grateful to the Ministry of Education for their ongoing support and investments into improving school facilities,” added Director of Education, John Cameron. “Thanks to additional funding, the board has added or upgraded a total of 66 rooftop HVAC units across the jurisdiction.”

Additional details of projects or school specific initiatives can be found by visiting the CDSBEO website at www.cdsbeo.on

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