KEMPTVILLE — As pupils return to their classrooms, the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario is highlighting $6.8 million spent on “significant improvements” to air quality and the learning environments in all of its facilities.
The CDSBEO spent approximately $700,000 at all of its schools 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. The CDSBEO says a;; 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 $4.1 million 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 organization also says it has spent $14 million out of School Renewal and School Condition Improvement funding to improve air quality in schools. That work 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, totalled $584,000, according to the CDSBEO
It has also purchased 343 High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters ,which were distributed across the jurisdiction. Those units are being placed in all JK/SK classrooms as well as other classrooms and instructional spaces that would benefit from increased air filtration.
“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.”
Clark visited St. Mary Catholic High School in Brockville to see first-hand some of the upgrades 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.
The CDSBEO anticipates spending an additional $2.2 million 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.”