The Ministry of Health suggests lowering the temperature in school halls and minimizing ventilation in classrooms

The minimum heating temperature in schools outside classrooms could be lowered. For example, gyms or corridors could now be 17 degrees Celsius instead of the current 18 and showers 21 instead of 24. It should be kept at 20°C in classrooms. This follows from a draft amendment to the decree on hygiene requirements for school premises prepared by the Ministry of Health (MoH).

The current energy crisis, caused by Russian aggression in Ukraine, was used by the Ministry of Health to justify the amendment. The amendment also provides for a reduction in ventilation requirements in classrooms and gymnasiums.

Due to the energy crisis, the Ministry of Industry and Trade already proposed its decree in August, according to which the heating temperature of public areas would be reduced in the event of a gas supply failure. Classrooms in schools would drop, under its proposal, from 20 to 19 degrees.

Until now, the decree on hygiene requirements for school premises determined the optimal heating and minimum and maximum temperatures.

It was set at 22 degrees Celsius for classrooms and cloakrooms with a two-degree upward or downward deviation and 20 degrees for gymnasiums with a two-degree upward or downward departure. The new decree would no longer specify the optimum temperature; it would only state the minimum and maximum.

For classrooms, the temperature could be between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius; for locker rooms, between 18 and 28; and for gyms, between 17 and 28 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature in showers should drop from 24 to 21 and in corridors and toilets from 18 to 17 degrees Celsius.

Other rules for “coal holidays.”

The provision under which the decision to close schools for the winter would also change. The current rule is that school operations will stop if classroom temperatures fall below 18 degrees Celsius for three consecutive days or below 16 degrees on one day.

Now, a decision would be taken to declare a coal holiday if the temperature in the school premises drops below the minimum specified value for three days, i.e., below 20 degrees in classrooms and 17 degrees in gymnasiums.

According to the ministry, the proposed limits do not endanger the health of children and pupils. In the material on the amendment, the authorities pointed out that it had also drawn inspiration from experience abroad.

As an additional measure, the ministry suggested limiting ventilation. While a student is now supposed to have 30 cubic meters of fresh air per hour in a classroom and 90 cubic meters in a gym, the new limit would be 20 cubic meters in both cases.

According to the ministry, this amount of fresh air should be sufficient for all age groups of children. The proposal is now awaiting consideration by the working committees of the Government’s Legislative Council.