Ventilation in our schools

We are working to optimize air quality in our schools through improvements in ventilation and filtration.

Ventilation is just one strategy in our ongoing effort to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools and these investments are dependent on the type of ventilation and school footprint.

Governments of Canada and Ontario logos

HVAC improvement projects funded by the Governments of Canada and Ontario

HVAC System - Air Purification UV Treatment & Duct Sealing / Ventilation Upgrades

Ensuring Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Settings are Maximizing Ventilation

  • Conducting assessments on all mechanical ventilation to ensure they are fully operational and servicing where necessary.
  • Prioritizing repairs for mechanical systems to ensure they are operating efficiently. 
  • Adjusting the operating schedules for all mechanical systems to maximize air flow, increase fresh air intake and increase the amount of air exchanges per day in the building. 
  • Setting the systems to run at maximum outside airflow a minimum of two hours before school starts and two hours after it ends to refresh the air before arrival and remove remaining particles at the end of the day. 
  • Maximizing outdoor air circulation (opening windows where and when possible)

District Level Improvements

During the 2020-2021 school year, the District invested $3.7 million (funded through School Condition Improvement grant and the Covid-19 Resilience Infrastructure funding) toward a total of 29 ventilation projects (or 100% of the total schools in the District).  For the 2021-2022 school year, we invested $5.8 million toward 26 ventilation projects (88% of the total number of schools in the District). This included a three-school pilot from December 2020 to May 2021 installing REME-LED active air purification and duct sealing at Champlain Discovery, Valour K-12 and Fellowes. The roll-out of the remaining schools began in May 2021.  

Understanding Ventilation Systems

Ventilation is the process of supplying or removing air from a space for the purpose of controlling the indoor air quality within the space. Our schools that use a variety of ventilation systems based primarily on when the school and any subsequent building additions were built.  The types of ventilation systems commonly in use are:

Mechanical Ventilation -- This is ventilation provided by motor-driven fans.  These systems may include supply fans which push outdoor air into a building and exhaust fans which expel air out of a building.  These systems also condition the air through the use of heating and/or cooling equipment so that air is delivered to the space at comfortable temperatures. 

Passive Ventilation – This is ventilation, also called non-mechanical or natural ventilation, delivered to the space primarily by air diffusion effects through doors, windows or other intentional openings in buildings.  In schools, air diffusion effects are often augmented through the use of exhaust fans that assist in drawing fresh air into a building. 

Combined Ventilation – Also called partial mechanical ventilation, schools that have had one or more additions built over time may have a combination of mechanical and passive ventilation systems.  Passive ventilation would typically be found in older sections of a school while newer sections would most likely be served by mechanical ventilation systems.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters

HEPA is a type of pleated mechanical air filter. It is an acronym for "high efficiency particulate air [filter]" (as officially defined by the U.S. Dept. of Energy).  This type of air filter can theoretically remove at least 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns (µm). The diameter specification of 0.3 microns responds to the worst case; the most penetrating particle size (MPPS). Particles that are larger or smaller are trapped with even higher efficiency. Using the worst case particle size results in the worst case efficiency rating (i.e. 99.97% or better for all particle sizes).

How many HEPAs does the District have?

Like every other school district across the province, the Ministry of Education has provided dedicated money to put toward the purchase of HEPAs. For our District, that totaled $394,000 toward 28 school sites totaling approximately 1.7 million square feet of space.

To date this has allowed us to secure 340 HEPA units for use across our District. This represents nearly 50% of our total learning spaces and does not include an additional 100 to 150 spaces where staff and students may periodically occupy. 

Our ability to provide a HEPA unit in every classroom is a challenge given the finite funding provided.


How does the District use HEPAs?

Each school principal advises our Facility staff where to place the unit(s) and they may consider classrooms with passive ventilation systems where increased ventilation measures were not possible due to the nature of the HVAC equipment, spaces with a higher potential for airborne virus particles (congregate spaces that are smaller and/or do not have HVAC or passive ventilation), spaces where the more important steps of wearing masks, hand washing and distancing is more difficult to achieve. This includes all special program classrooms and spaces with immunocompromised students or staff across the District. The ministry also requires that we place them in all kindergarten classrooms and any learning space with no mechanical ventilation. 

Overall, we approach this work with a commitment to three fundamental aspects: increasing fresh air flow, increasing filter changes and increasing filter efficiency.

Is it unsafe without a HEPA?

No. Across the District we have changed how we operate our ventilation systems. We now ensure that all systems operate beginning at 5:00 am and continue to do so until at least 5:00 pm. This allows for an effective flushing of building air before, during and after the school day. Additionally, fresh air intake is set to a minimum of 20% on all units and we now change our filters three times annually. 

We also have increased our inspections and now follow a two-part daily inspection by school staff that includes a physical inspection confirming operation of ventilation equipment as well as a Building Automation System (BAS) review (a review of the system responsible for managing the mechanical processes). 

On a monthly basis our Facilities HVAC Tech and Gas Technician performs a physical inspection of equipment including on roof top units, Make Up Air Units, Heat Recovery Ventilators, Classroom Ventilators and the Building Automation System. 

While ventilation is important, it is just one strategy in our ongoing effort to prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our schools. Masking, distancing, vaccination and the daily screener all help to keep students and staff safe.

What is the “Cleaner Air for Schools Program” sticker I see on my school site entry way? 

In a first for Renfrew County, the District has invested in The Cleaner Air for Schools Program, a combination of two award-winning technologies that align with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers’ (ASHRAE’s) recommendations and help increase ventilation, improve the flow of fresh air, while also destroying airborne viruses and surface bacteria. 

We are currently installing ‘Aerosolized Duct Sealing’ across sites to eliminate air leakage from ductwork. This will result in better HVAC efficiency, increased ventilation and improved filtration and comfort for occupants. In essence, this technology ensures that all of the air supplied and returned through ventilation systems is delivered to the spaces that students and staff occupy, rather than leaking out into ceilings and mechanical spaces which do not require ventilation.

This program will ensure that each school will increase airflow by an average of 25% to 45%.

The Cleaner Air for Schools Program also includes the REME-LED Active Air Purification system.  The REME LED air purifier is placed in the supply ducts of the HVAC system where it uses ions and UV light to attract and then destroy bacteria, mold, viruses and more on the surfaces and in the air. We currently have 19 schools using this technology and have plans to expand to 8 other sites by the end of June 2022.

Additional Resources

How do I know what type of ventilation my school uses?

All of our sites have mechanical ventilation in the vast majority of spaces.  This could be in the form of roof top ventilation units (RTU), make-up air units  or classroom unit ventilators.  These units are part of the Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning system (HVAC). Depending on the age of the building and its layout, there may be other ventilation measures in place.

Where can I learn more about the ventilation at a school site?

We encourage individuals to learn more about their school site and to see our ongoing efforts to improve ventilation and air quality. Visit rcdsb.on.ca and click on “Our Schools” and then “Ventilation in Our Schools”. On that page you may also discover individual school ventilation data by clicking on  "School Information Profile".

 

 

 

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Admaston Public School

182 Stone Road

Renfrew, ON

K7V 3Z5

T: 613-432-5577

F: 613-432-6067

School Information Profile

Exterior of Admaston Public School

A.J. Charbonneau Public School

225B Baskin Drive West

R.R. # 2

Arnprior, ON

K7S 0E3

T: 613-623-6512

F: 613-623-9759

School Information Profile

 

Exterior of A.J. Charbonneau Public School

Beachburg Public School

20 Cameron Street

Beachburg, ON

K0J 1C0

T: 613-582-3528

F: 613-582-7192

School Information Profile

Exterior of Beachburg Public School

Central Public School

140 Munroe Avenue East

Renfrew, ON

K7V 3K4

T: 613-432-3627

F: 613-432-6833

 

School Information Profile

Exterior of Central Public School

Champlain Discovery Public School

390 Bell Street

Pembroke, ON

K8A 2K5

T: 613-735-6575 

School Information Profile

Exterior of Champlain Discovery School

Cobden Public School

16 Cowley Street

P.O. Box 130

Cobden, ON

K0J 1K0

T: 613-646-2271

F: 613-646-2194

School Information Profile

 

A photo of Cobden District Public School

Eganville Public School

259 Jane Street

P.O. Box 787

Eganville, ON

K0J 1T0

T: 613-628-2606

F: 613-628-1964 

School Information Profile

Exterior of Eganville Public School

Herman Street Public School

15 Herman Street

Petawawa, ON

K8H 1W1

T: 613-687-2457

F: 613-687-7408

School Information Profile

Exterior of Herman Street Public School

Highview Public School

320 Herbert Street

Pembroke, ON

K8A 2Y4

T: 613-732-8761

F: 613-732-4562

School Information Profile

Exterior of Highview Public School

Killaloe Public School

100 Queen Street

P.O. Box 189

Killaloe, ON

K0J 2A0

T: 613-757-2091

F: 613-757-3819

School Information Profile

Exterior of Killaloe Public School

Mackenzie Community School

87 Brockhouse Way

P.O. Box 397

Deep River, ON

K0J 1P0

T: 613-584-3361

F: 613-584-1706

School Information Profile

 

Exterior of Mackenzie Community School

McNab Public School

1164 Stewartville Road

Arnprior, ON

K7S 3G8

T: 613-623-5746

School Information Profile

Exterior of McNab Public School

Palmer Rapids Public School

116 Burnt Bridge Road

Palmer Rapids, ON

K0J 2E0

T: 613-758-2202

F: 613-758-2924

School Information Profile

Exterior of Palmer Rapids Public School

Pine View Public School

2321 Petawawa Boulevard

Pembroke, ON

K8A 7G7

T: 613-687-2519

F: 613-687-2777

School Information Profile

Exterior of Pine View Public School

Queen Elizabeth Public School

100 Veterans' Memorial Boulevard

Renfrew, ON

K7V 2R6

T: 613-432-4845

F: 613-432-9337

School Information Profile

Exterior of Queen Elizabeth Public School

Renfrew Collegiate Intermediate School

184 Bonnechere Street South

Renfrew, ON

K7V 1Z5

T: 613-432-4858

F: 613-432-7196

School Information Profile

Renfrew Collegiate Institute

Rockwood Public School

11588 Round Lake Road

Pembroke, ON

K8A 0K8

T: 613-732-3789

F: 613-732-4001

School Information Profile

Exterior of Rockwood Public School

Sherwood Public School

341 John Street

Barry's Bay, ON

K0J 1B0

T: 613-756-3048

F: 613-756-1783

School Information Profile

A photo of Sherwood Public School

Valour JK-12 School

19 Leeder Lane

Petawawa, ON

K8H 0B8

T: 613-687-2121

School Information Profile

A Picture of Valour School

Walter Zadow Public School

79 Ottawa Street

Arnprior, ON

K7S 1X2

T: 613-623-4235

F: 613-623-3874

School Information Profile

Exterior of Walter Zadow Public School

Whitney Public School

62 Post Street

Whitney, ON

K0J 2M0

T: 613-637-2171

F: 613-637-1074

School Information Profile

Exterior of Whitney Public School

Secondary Schools

The RCDSB supports seven secondary schools in the district. Below is contact information for each school and their boundaries.

B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Arnprior District High School

59 Ottawa Street

Arnprior, ON

K7S 1X2

T: 613-623-3183

F: 613-623-6973

School Information Profile 

 

Fellowes High School

420 Bell Street

Pembroke, ON

K8A 2K5

T: 613-735-6858

F: 613-735-6850

School Information Profile

FHS exterior

Mackenzie Community School

87 Brockhouse Way

P.O. Box 397

Deep River, ON

K0J 1P0

T: 613-584-3361

F: 613-584-1706

School Information Profile

Exterior of Mackenzie Community School

Madawaska Valley District High School

341 John Street

Barry's Bay, ON

K0J 1B0

T: 613-756-3048

F: 613-756-1783

School Information Profile

A photo of Madawaska Valley District High School

Opeongo High School

1990 Cobden Road

Douglas, ON

K0J 1S0

T: 613-735-7587

F: 613-649-2633

School Information Profile

Exterior of Opeongo High School

Renfrew Collegiate Institute

184 Bonnechere Street South

Renfrew, ON

K7V 1Z5

T: 613-432-4858

F: 613-432-7196

School Information Profile

RCI exterior

Valour JK-12 School

19 Leeder Lane

Petawawa, ON

K8H 0B8

T: 613-687-2121

School Information Profile

A photo of Valour School

Continuing Education - Adult High Schools

The RCDSB supports four continuing education sites - adult high schools. Below is contact information for each school and their boundaries.

Arnprior Continuing Education

59 Ottawa Street

Arnprior, ON

K7S 1X2

T: 613-623-4189

F: 613-623-4189

 

 

 

Pembroke Continuing Education

480 Mary Street

Pembroke, ON

K8A 5W9

T: 613-732-8105

F: 613-735-3219

 

 

Petawawa Continuing Education

1121 Victoria Street

Petawawa, ON

K8H 2E4

T: 613-687-2231

F: 613-687-2231

 

 

Renfrew Continuing Education

184 Bonnechere Street South

Renfrew, ON

K7V 1Z5

T: 613-432-3156

F: 613-432-3569

 

 

 

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