Tackling Air Quality Issues in School

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This sponsored blog post has been brought to you by The British School of Beijing, Shunyi.

There are times of the year when we experience poor air quality in Beijing and we know this is an issue of great importance to every parent. Student welfare is the number one priority for all schools.

International schools such as The British School of Beijing, Shunyi, (BSB) are making every effort to ensure a safe learning environment for all students.

BSB’s new Sports Dome
BSB has recently announced the construction of a Sports Dome to be constructed over the summer of 2014. It will be completed in time for the start of the new school year, 2014/2015. The Dome will cover the outside basketball courts and will be complete with a massive air-handling system to keep it temperature-controlled and available for year round usage.

Filtering the entire school
BSB uses three air purification systems in unison across the entire school. First, they use air filters in its central air-conditioning system with the parts and filters being checked every term and replaced as needed.
All classrooms and the libraries are then also equipped with individual air filters to supplement the central air-conditioning.

Added to that BSB has begun a program of installing ceiling-mounted air filters, 176 units in total, which will further enhance their ability to keep the Air Quality Index (AQI) below 10 inside the classrooms.
Their Foyer area also features air curtains over both the front and back entrances and a large-scale IQ Air Filter over the entrance to the school’s Multi-Purpose Room. Air curtains help to regulate temperature and reduce outside air entering into the building.
 

Testing and Monitoring Procedures
Testing of these systems is vitally important to ensure they are working as they should. BSB uses two external and independent companies to measure air quality inside the building. Especially on days when outdoor pollution is at unacceptable levels, BSB’s Facilities Manager will request testing of the systems to ensure they are working well.

BSB’s Reception Desk staff check the AQI three times a day at 8 AM, 12 PM, 3 PM, using the AQI reading from the American Embassy, and then e-mail the whole Shunyi campus with the level and appropriate procedure for that period. The facilities team (cleaning ladies and maintenance men) are also sent text messages and communicated by “walkie talkie”. These staff will then take action accordingly by checking window and door closure, placing the appropriate coloured card on the doors to the playgrounds, and checking that all air purifiers are functioning.

BSB recognises the importance of making sure all staff are trained in the actions that need to be undertaken when the AQI hits acceptable levels. Training takes place twice a year and involves all teachers, admin and cleaning staff.  

BSB’s AQI cut-off for all outside activity is currently set at 200 for its Foundation Stage students and 250 for the rest of the school. Students with respiratory issues are registered with the nursing staff and are excused from outside and high impact activities at much lower AQI levels.

 

Photo courtesy of BSB, Shunyi.

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