Covid, the cases increase and the return to class becomes a puzzle: guidelines for ventilation are still lacking. Scientists and trade unions protest

It will not be like September 2020. Nor will it be like 2021. But in September 2022 the school will still have to deal with covid: the increase in cases in recent weeks leads to reflect on the measures to be taken to return to class. The picture, however, remains uncertain.

“In September we have been working for some time to have one school in presence and in safety. We are defining the different scenarios that there may be. We cannot control the epidemiological situation worldwide, but we do control ours “, said the Minister of Education, Patrizio Bianchi, a few days ago about going back to school in September.

On the vaccine front, the situation is evolving, as can be seen from the words of the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza: “We are preparing a large vaccination campaign with the Omicron adapted vaccine for the fall. The age groups will be decided in July“.

But for the ad hoc measures for the school still, we are on the high seas. Even the unions in recent days have emphasized this: “No information or convocation, there is no news of interventions this year to contain the pandemic with extraordinary measures for the school and already last year we had highlighted that the government had approached the emergency with a view to saving because it had cut the resources both on the covid staff, Ata staff, and on the teachers for the splitting of the classes. And it seems to me that this is still confirmed today “explains Francesco Sinopolisecretary of the Flc Cgil.

“Nothing new on the front of the start of the school year next September. The safety protocol that had to be updated at the end of this school year with the end of the health emergency, so on April 1st, we never got to sign it. A plan that never came to fruition so the schools were left to decide for themselves what to do “he replies Ivana Barbaccisecretary of the CISL Scuola.

From the scientific world comes a clear stance: we need to focus on ventilation systems in schools.

The director of the Institute of Pharmacological Research Mario Negri, Giuseppe Remuzzisays that on the school “you have to prepare, and quickly. The data tell us that ventilation is essential and by now there are dozens of devices capable of blocking the spread of the virus by aerosol, it is a matter of choosing the one that costs less. And then children need to be vaccinated, I say this clearly “.

A clear message comes from Roberto Burioni, that says: “Schools will reopen in September. This will mean having dozens of students for many hours inside an enclosed space, because in cold weather, keeping the windows open will be a problem. These children – and their teachers – will speak (as it should be in a classroom) emitting with words even aerosols in abundance ”.

“The alternative – continues the virologist – is to ensure adequate air exchange in the classrooms. Fortunately, to ensure adequate air exchange we will not have to tear down schools to rebuild new ones: today there are technological solutions that can guarantee excellent ventilation even in normal environments. But these solutions must be put in place, and this is not happening. With classrooms equipped with an adequate air exchange, we would be ready to hinder the contagion “.

The colleague too Fabrizio PregliascoUniMi teacher and medical director of Irccs Galeazzi in Milan, focuses on this theme for returning to class: “Work now to adapt the ventilation systems in Italian schools. Is critical“, Says the expert, who underlines how the measures are important both because”children are certainly spreaders and spreaders of respiratory infections, including Covid“, And because”we must guarantee the didactic activity in presence. The one from a distance was devastating“, In an age group for which school also means school of life and socialization.

Yes, the ventilation and airing of the classrooms. In truth, the guidelines should have arrived last March to guide schools in this direction.

In fact, by March 20, 2022 a specific decree of the President of the Council of Ministers (on the proposal of the Minister of Health and in agreement with the Minister of Education) it should have defined on the one hand the guidelines on the technical specifications regarding the adoption of mobile purification devices and fixed ventilation systems and on the other hand the minimum standards of air quality in the school and confined environments of the same buildings.

Lack of guidelines also recently underlined by the Undersecretary for Education Rossano Sasso: “The Ministry of Health is 3 months late on the delivery of guidelines for the purchase by schools of sanitizing, sanitizing and air purification devices. Tools which, as attested by the World Health Organization and by a large scientific literature, constitute a fundamental weapon to drastically reduce the risk of contagion within institutes. A rule of law published in the Official Gazette on 18 February 2022, number 11, provided that the technical specifications of the mobile purification devices and fixed ventilation systems were defined within 30 days, together with the minimum standards of air quality in the environments. scholastics. We are still waiting“.

In the past months, however, on the question of classroom ventilation, Minister Bianchi had clearly said about mechanical ventilation systems in schools: “These are matters and the responsibility of local authorities and individual schools. How to organize a school cannot be determined from Rome. We are in an autonomous regime and therefore everyone takes their own responsibilities“.

It’s still: “We give resources to schools and municipalities but we cannot decide. We are in a regime of autonomy“.

Covid, the cases increase and the return to class becomes a puzzle: guidelines for ventilation are still lacking. Scientists and trade unions protest – Orizzonte Scuola News