Catholic Division investigating air quality improvement for schools

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As part of preparations for the return to school in September, the Prince Albert Catholic School Division is prioritizing air quality. With an eye on diminishing the spread of COVID-19, the board of education approved an amendment to their Preventative Maintenance and Renewal (PMR) plan to look into improving air quality during their regular meeting on Monday, August 17.

“We wanted to (tell) the board that we were seeking Ministry opportunities. We know that there were some new dollars that could come to school divisions and therefore we want to participate in any kind of access to supports to attain the most comfortable and safe environment for our students returning to school and our staff,” director of education Lorel Trumier said.

The division has had their PMR plan approved for this school year already, but they wanted to add more. Administration identified a potential project for air quality improvements that meets PMR criteria.

Administration is currently investigating options for the most efficient and cost effective way to get the project underway. They are currently working with HD Engineering, an independent third party, to identify and evaluate options to improve air quality in schools.

The anticipated cost is expected to be in the range of $150,000 to $200,000, which are very preliminary numbers. To fund these improvements, they are looking at alternative options that include PMR, existing operating funding and alternative funding from the Ministry of Education which may include a piece of the $40 million announced by Premier Scott Moe on Monday.

“We have a third party consultant working with us to help us assess different ways that we can do that, of course in an efficient way but also an effective way … to reduce the spread or to make the quality of our air better in our schools,” Trumier said.

The board is supportive of the measure and passed the PMR amendment to get the project moving as soon as possible.

“There is a lot of work to do but we are going to work to get it done as soon as we can,” she explained.