Tuesday suggests that efficient ventilation systems can reduce the transmission of COVID-19 in schools by more than 80%.
An experiment overseen by the Hume foundation think-tank compared coronavirus contagion in 10,441 classrooms in Italy’s central Marche region.
COVID infections were steeply lower in the 316 classrooms that had mechanical ventilation systems, with the reduction in cases more marked according to the strength of the systems.
With applications guaranteeing a complete replacement of the air in a classroom 2.4 times in an hour, infections were reduced by 40%. They were lowered by 66.8% with four air replacements per hour and by 82.5% with six air replacements, the study showed.
Most of Italy’s schools lack mechanical ventilation systems. Instead, teachers are urged to keep windows open when weather conditions permit.
If the most efficient systems were installed “we could pass from 250 cases per 100,000 students (the alert level set by the education ministry) to a rate of 50 per 100,000,” the Hume foundation and the Marche regional government said in its press release.