TORONTO — The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE) has issued a statement in anticipation of students returning to school across the province, calling on the provincial government to immediately address the airborne transmission of COVID-19.
The OSPE said the government should immediately determine which schools require priority HVAC systems assessments; commit more funding to ventilation improvements; and hire professional engineers to undertake the work.
“Ontario engineers are concerned about the health and well-being of students, and the lack of attention to air quality by the provincial government,” said Sandro Perruzza, CEO of the OSPE, in a Feb. 5 statement. “While investments like the Ontario Together Fund to develop new technologies are welcome, we need a transparent plan to prioritize and conduct upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in schools now.”
The statement noted health experts advise that aerosol transmission of the virus is possible, particularly in indoor settings where people gather for long periods of time.
OSPE president and chair Rejeanne Aimey commented, “As engineers, we have always known there is a connection between ventilation systems and our health, but it has taken a global pandemic to shine light on this issue. We are urging government to properly invest in protecting our children — allocating $50 million of federal support is inadequate.”