Schools – Düsseldorf – parents’ initiative calls for air filters for every classroom – education

Düsseldorf (dpa / lnw) – A parents’ initiative is calling for mobile room air filters in every classroom in North Rhine-Westphalia for the new school year in order to ensure nationwide classroom teaching in the pandemic. The NRW municipal ministry should provide the school authorities with sufficient amounts of unbureaucratic funding for the purchase of mobile room air devices, said Franz-Josef Kahlen, spokesman for the parents’ initiative Raumluftfilter NRW, in Düsseldorf on Monday.

Kahlen put the total cost of equipping all around 5,000 schools with air filters at around 250 million euros. There are around 2.5 million students in North Rhine-Westphalia. Financing is conceivable through the state’s own NRW.Bank, said Kahlen.

Local Minister Ina Scharrenbach (CDU) said: “The schools in North Rhine-Westphalia are safe places for children and young people.” The use of mobile air purifiers can also be useful if there is insufficient ventilation. Cities and municipalities have already made use of the state’s support and bought mobile air filter devices where necessary.

According to the ministry, around ten million euros have so far been approved in NRW for the procurement of mobile air filters and window repairs for schools and sports halls. Only around 128,000 euros (as of April 2021) had been paid out from federal funding. In the updated federal funding guideline, however, mobile air purifiers were indicated as not eligible for funding. The federal government justified this with the fact that they “only contribute to a limited extent to improving indoor air quality (…)”, the ministry quoted from the directive.

Melanie Maurer, chairwoman of the Duisburg municipal school council, said that there are now air filter systems in many areas of buildings such as doctors’ surgeries, offices and public buildings – only rarely in schools. Equipping all classrooms is considered too expensive. Therefore, the guidelines said that ventilation in the classrooms was sufficient. Only rooms without windows should be equipped with air filters from the 50 million euro funding program of the local ministry.

“We want classroom teaching,” said Maurer. “The question in the coming months should not be whether it is possible, but how.” Especially in full classrooms, everything must be done to keep the air as virus-free as possible.

The Greens parliamentary group had demanded air filters as a first step in elementary and special schools because younger children under the age of twelve could not be vaccinated at the moment. They should therefore be specially protected.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210628-99-173513 / 3