Covid Scotland: Lack of ventilation action ‘leaves children shaking’, say Lib Dems

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have tabled 25 parliamentary questions to the Scottish government on plans to tackle ventilation in schools, including whether investigations were carried out into the health and safety impacts of plans to cut classroom doors.

Willie Rennie, the Lib Dem’s education spokesman, also asked why the £5m funds available for councils for ventilation were not made available earlier in the pandemic.

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Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville is under pressure over classroom ventilation

He said: “This has been a torrid week for the Scottish Government. His plans to improve ventilation in schools have been exposed as totally lacking in scale and detail.

“Two years ago the virus arrived in Scotland. The lack of action by the Scottish government to push for ventilation improvements across the country is leaving students and teachers trembling.

“The new funding from the Scottish Government has only been designed to target 2,000 classrooms, that is just one in 25.

“Instead of spending £17m on national tests for children aged four and five, debunked by everyone from teachers to the OECD, the SNP/Green Government should redirect that money to keep everyone safe in school.” .

The opposition attack came after Nicola Sturgeon was pressed during questions from the prime minister last week about the plans, which were widely derided by opposition politicians.

Many children face learning in cold classrooms due to the need to open windows to improve airflow, despite the winter weather.

The Scottish government said it had provided councils with £10m for ventilation and carbon dioxide control, in addition to £5m recently allocated.

He added that £90m of Covid-19 logistics funds had also been provided to councils for uses including improving ventilation in classrooms.

A spokesperson said: “Local authorities have taken action and continue to work hard to make improvements across the school site where it is needed, with the help of the additional funds we have made available to support their work.

“The precise corrective measures used in each case must be informed by an expert assessment that meets legal obligations regarding health and safety, including fire safety.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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