Covid-19 – Room Ventilation & Monitoring

September 28th, 2021

Guidance published by the Universities Safety and Health Association (USHA) states that teaching, studying, and research are considered to be low risk activities and that conventional levels of ventilation are sufficient to maintain healthy indoor environments where the maximum room occupancy is not exceeded.

The Estates team has produced a summary of how they ensure that rooms have a plentiful supply of fresh air, how we monitor air quality, and the simple steps that colleagues can take to ventilate rooms.

Across the university estate, almost half of our teaching rooms are monitored and mechanically ventilated by the university’s extensive Building Management System (BMS). This means that these spaces are remotely and continuously monitored by sensors that automatically adjust ventilation measures such as automated windows, skylights and air handling units to assure a constant level of fresh air. In these spaces, sensors have been set to run at high or maximum rates to provide a higher air change rate.

Where buildings or spaces are naturally ventilated, colleagues are encouraged to take responsibility for ensuring a regular supply of fresh air by opening windows and/or air vents, where present, to provide a fresh air supply; opening doors in combination with windows to encourage through-draughts wherever practical; and regularly ‘purging’ indoor areas by fully opening all windows, air vents and doors, particularly between sessions.

Mechanical ventilation systems are checked regularly to ensure they are working optimally, and if CO2 levels were to exceed recommended limits the Estates team is automatically alerted to take appropriate actions to increase ventilation levels. The university has procured additional portable CO2 sensors, which will be regularly moved around rooms that use natural ventilation measures, to confirm that CO2 levels are within the recommended limits.

In the unlikely event that CO2 levels exceed the recommended limits, Timetabling will be notified to take the room out of service and advise teaching staff accordingly. Alternate teaching locations will be provided until CO2 levels have been addressed.

Should colleagues wish to report an issue or concern with a specific room, they should contact the Estates Helpdesk or call 0115 951 6666 (or 16666 internally).

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