Improving school ventilation systems can help reduce Covid-19 cases among students, an Italian study showed.
The study, released on Tuesday, was conducted by the Hume Foundation, an Italian think tank, involved 10,441 classrooms in Marche in central Italy, of which 316 classrooms were equipped with mechanical ventilation systems while the other 10,125 were not.
In the 316 classrooms with mechanical ventilation systems, there were far fewer cases of Covid, and the number of infections reduced in step with the quality of the school’s ventilation system, according to the study, Xinhua news agency reported.
Compared to levels in classrooms with no ventilation systems, Covid cases were reduced by 40 per cent when classroom air was completely replaced every 25 minutes.
When the air was completely replaced every 15 minutes, cases were lower; and in cases where the air was replaced every 10 minutes, reported Covid cases were much lower, the study showed.
Most schools in Italy lack mechanical ventilation systems, according to local reports. Italy’s Covid safety rules require teachers to open classroom windows when feasible.
The study, carried out between September 2021 and January 2022, said that cases in schools could drop from 250 per 100,000 students to 50 per 100,000 students by installing efficient ventilation systems.
The news came as Covid infections started to rise in Italy after a lull from early February to early March. Italy recorded 96,365 new cases Tuesday, the highest daily new cases since February 8.