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Government to provide extra funds to improve air quality of school buildings

3. September 2021 - 11:24

Today, the government decided to provide a one-time additional payment of 2.6 million euros to local governments in order to improve the air quality of school and kindergarten buildings.

Minister of Education and Research Liina Kersna says that every local government will receive extra funding, provided they have at least one school where 80 or more students are enrolled in primary school. “Researchers have shown that ventilation systems are extremely important in regard to whether and how much the virus spreads. As a result, a properly functioning ventilation system is important in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 and keep schools open,” said Kersna. “We gathered a great deal of data on ventilation systems in school buildings during the spring and summer and are now aware that of Estonia’s 650 school buildings, 250 (37%) have only natural ventilation.”

The extra funds will be spread proportionally throughout all eligible municipalities according to the number of students. The minister says that the extra funding is for the planning, construction and repair of forced ventilation as well as the purchase and installation of carbon dioxide sensors and air purifiers. “In total, we have 11,500 classrooms, 3500 of which are naturally ventilated,” said Minister Kersna. “The extra funds provided will be sufficient to provide classrooms with carbon dioxide sensors that can be used for ventilation when appropriate. Additionally, the extra funds will assist in creating ventilation projects and repairs according to the needs of various local governments.”

The Minister of Education and Research said that a large amount of funds for schools will be made available to improve air quality over the next few years and it would be great if the projects were prepared beforehand.

The school buildings to receive funds to improve air quality will be decided by the local governments themselves. One condition of the extra funds is that local governments must contribute themselves at least one-third (33%) of the total costs.

The funds will be assigned to local governments on the basis of a directive of the Minister of Education and Research, only after the local government has provided their agreement. The reports stating how the funds will be used must be submitted by the end of 2022.

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