In order to avoid SARS-CoV-2 transmission inside educational buildings and promote the safe reopening of schools, the Italian Government, in line with the other European countries and in accordance with the WHO recommendations, adopted a contingency plan including actions able to guarantee adequate air ventilation in classrooms. Therefore, in this pilot study, a surveillance activity based on the real-time monitoring of CO2 levels as a proxy of SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk, was conducted inside 9 schools (11 classrooms) located in Apulia Region (South of Italy) during the reopening of schools after the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, monitoring activities and data treatment were conducted to evaluate the initial scenario inside the classrooms (first stage of evaluation) and the potential improvements obtained by applying a detailed operating protocol of air ventilation based on specific actions and the simultaneous real time visualization of CO2 levels by non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors (second stage of evaluation). Although, during the first evaluation stage, air ventilation through the opening of windows and doors was guaranteed, 6 (54%) classrooms showed mean values of CO2 higher than 1000 ppm and all classrooms exceeded the recommended CO2 concentration limit value of 700 ppm. The development and implementation of tailored ventilation protocol including the real time visualization of CO2 levels allowed to depict better scenariosAn overall improvement of CO2 levels was indeed registered for all classrooms where teachers were compliant and helpful in the management of the air ventilation strategy. Therefore, this study reports the first evidence-based measures demonstrating that, with the exception of few environments affected by structural limits, the real-time visualization and monitoring of CO2 concentrations allowes effective air exchanges to be implemented and contributes to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Moreover, on the basis of the monitoring outcomes and in order to ensure adequate air ventilation in educational buildings, a 4 level-risk classification including specific corrective actions for each level was provided.

CO2 concentration monitoring inside educational buildings as a strategic tool to reduce the risk of Sars-CoV-2 airborne transmission

Di Gilio A.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Palmisani J.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
de Gennaro G.
Membro del Collaboration Group
2021-01-01

Abstract

In order to avoid SARS-CoV-2 transmission inside educational buildings and promote the safe reopening of schools, the Italian Government, in line with the other European countries and in accordance with the WHO recommendations, adopted a contingency plan including actions able to guarantee adequate air ventilation in classrooms. Therefore, in this pilot study, a surveillance activity based on the real-time monitoring of CO2 levels as a proxy of SARS-CoV-2 transmission risk, was conducted inside 9 schools (11 classrooms) located in Apulia Region (South of Italy) during the reopening of schools after the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. More specifically, monitoring activities and data treatment were conducted to evaluate the initial scenario inside the classrooms (first stage of evaluation) and the potential improvements obtained by applying a detailed operating protocol of air ventilation based on specific actions and the simultaneous real time visualization of CO2 levels by non-dispersive infrared (NDIR) sensors (second stage of evaluation). Although, during the first evaluation stage, air ventilation through the opening of windows and doors was guaranteed, 6 (54%) classrooms showed mean values of CO2 higher than 1000 ppm and all classrooms exceeded the recommended CO2 concentration limit value of 700 ppm. The development and implementation of tailored ventilation protocol including the real time visualization of CO2 levels allowed to depict better scenariosAn overall improvement of CO2 levels was indeed registered for all classrooms where teachers were compliant and helpful in the management of the air ventilation strategy. Therefore, this study reports the first evidence-based measures demonstrating that, with the exception of few environments affected by structural limits, the real-time visualization and monitoring of CO2 concentrations allowes effective air exchanges to be implemented and contributes to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission. Moreover, on the basis of the monitoring outcomes and in order to ensure adequate air ventilation in educational buildings, a 4 level-risk classification including specific corrective actions for each level was provided.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11586/380055
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