The focus on fresh air in classrooms due to COVID-19 has paved the way for IGS to collaborate in a pilot study on air quality in and around IGS classrooms.
The four-week pilot, The Air We Breathe, the IGS Air Quality Data Collection and Monitoring Pilot, will run to the end of this school year and involve IGS students leaders, select senior science students, Deputy Principal Students and Campus Life Mary Duma, IGS Head of Sustainability Carmelo Fedele and Head of Science Liz Turner, together with UTS Health Associate Professor Nimish Biloria and UTS Architecture Professor Anthony Burke.
The aim of the project is to investigate, monitor and analyse the quality of the air in the learning spaces and surrounds of IGS, to identify potential impacts on learning, health and wellbeing of the IGS community.
At this time, as COVID-safe health measures are front of mind, the immediate health concerns of sharing air in spaces, like classrooms, to maintain a healthy environment are of both physiological as well as psychological concerns for many students, teachers and parents alike.
The School has purchased a number of High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance (HEPA) filters and air quality monitors as part of COVID-safe planning.
By developing a method to collect and log air quality samples in a meaningful and robust way, we are able to offer a data set for further analysis to address studies in these effects.
IGS has a proactive student and staff body, keen to engage in broader conversations about issues such as air quality as a means of “real world learning” and experience.
With the introduction of carbon dioxide filters in classrooms due to COVID, we have for the first time a nascent infrastructure for addressing air quality. If this link is credibly established, further air remediation strategies may be investigated by IGS for the future, said UTS Health Associate Professor Nimish Biloria and UTS Architecture Professor Anthony Burke.
Meaningful data collection methodology for air quality in and around IGS is expected to include monitoring levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), Carbon Dioxide (Co2), Nitrogen Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide (No2/NOx), mould and pests, humidity and dampness, temperature, natural light levels, noise and particulate pollutants (PPM).
“We are delighted to partner with UTS on this air quality project,” Ms Duma said.
“It will be a springboard for our students to educated the school community and help other schools understand how air quality impacts on health.
“This project is exposing our children to another opportunity on the shoulders of giants to develop their skills and understanding of the world they are living in and the impacts on their health.
“It’s a real plus for our school community and for these students who are expanding their learning through collaborating with these wonderful researchers and academics.”