Stephen Lecce, Minister of Education, issued the following statement on the deployment of additional standalone HEPA filter units to schools and child care centres to further protect against COVID-19 on Monday, February 21.
“Since the start of the school year, this government made ventilation improvements a critical priority. We have ensured that every publicly funded school’s ventilation system was optimized with the highest-grade filters, in addition to the previously committed 73,000 HEPA filter units and other ventilation devices.
Ontario has more HEPA units in schools than all provinces combined. As Ontario gradually lifts measures on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, we remain committed to strengthening the protections in environments where students learn and staff work.
On top of the HEPA filter units already in place, our government will deploy an additional 40,000 HEPA filter units to school boards to support schools, and up to 9,000 units to child care centres. This massive investment will ensure roughly one million more children in schools and child care settings will benefit from HEPA filtration units. This will help ensure maximum protection for these learning spaces as we keep students in classrooms that have been made as safe as possible.
Ontario’s plan for the 2022-23 school year includes over $680 million in additional investment to maintain high ventilation standards, hire 3,000 more staff, maintain school-focused public health nurses and a focused plan to support learning recovery and mental health.”