THREAD. Today I attended a great webinar from @WHWB15 on COVID-19, aerosols &’schools feat two of the most respected scientists in this area - @j_g_allen from @HarvardChanSPH & Au’s own Dr Lidia Morawska from @QUT. Dr Allen is also Co Chair for @WELLcertified COVID19 Task Force
2/ some key insights. According to Dr Morawska, we need to change the paradigm. We haven’t don’t anything about the ventilation (or health) of our schools for a very long time. Points to Australia as an example of this.
3/ children are a source but transmission is lower - some great hypotheses presented by Dr Morawska. BUT there are 500k children who have been infected in the US. We can’t downplay this.
4/ the debate on airborne transmission is over. Evidence is clear it’s happening (Skagit). Ventilation plays a role in reducing transmission for other viruses. Dr Morawska team (inc the excellent Dr Luke Knibbs from @QUT) studied this at Prince Charles Hospital back in 2011.
5/ and yet - as Dr Morawska says - we STILL need to convince @WHO - and have them not only acknowledge the significant role of airborne transmission but need them to provide guidelines on managing this because the community look to them for health guidance
6/ “we need to get serious about airborne transmission and schools”. There are significant risks due to transmission, density, and vulnerabilities. However we need schools open by reducing the risk as much as possible.
7/ cue presentation from @j_g_allen who references the greater public health impact from kids not returning to school. 10k children from Boston didn’t log on to school in May. Huge absenteeism in Philadelphia. Kids need schools beyond education - nutrition, protection, social etc
8/ loved this risk matrix for schools risk level linked to community transmission from @j_g_allen. Important to understand the risk rather than keeping schools closed.
9/ @j_g_allen - there are various risk reduction strategies available for schools. They go beyond the classroom. References to universal masks, staggered start times, portable air treatment and VENTILATION
10/ Dr Allen @j_g_allen says “We’re underventilating almost every building that we ever spend time in.” 🙌
Also says that ASHRAE rates are insufficient for risk.
11/ @j_g_allen references important work he’s recently done regarding practical ways of measuring ventilation. Hint - even opening windows and doors can have a big impact beyond mech ventilation!
12/ @j_g_allen also references the work he did alongside the amazing @ShellyMBoulder re what’s acceptable for a classroom - > 5 ACH should be the target. Warning - when you talk about some of these concepts - ACH, particle size you’ve almost lost everyone. Needs to be practical
13/ final insights - Dr Morawska - “I have a vision of a time when ventilation/ ACH is presented on the wall alongside temperature...It will be a game can happen”. Also references the need to overcome “dogmas” rooted in politics& interests re airborne transmission
14/ and from @j_g_allen - “We need to be more imaginative about what a school and what a classroom is about. Need a growth mindset approach.. change our thinking. Not just start at 830...Not just indoors”

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