D.he green-black state government in Baden-Württemberg is preparing for a possible fourth wave of pandemics. Therefore, by the start of the new school year, classrooms that are poorly or not at all ventilated should be equipped with mobile air filter devices. The aim is to avert school closings in autumn, when the delta variant of the corona virus has fully established itself, if possible. The state is supporting the municipal school authorities with the purchase of these devices with 60 million euros. Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) had initially hesitated with the purchase due to the limited cleaning effect of the air purifiers. Now he said that with a view to further waves of pandemics, we have to “drive multi-track”.
“In addition to the existing modules such as regular testing, masks, the practiced hygiene and protective measures and targeted vaccination, the state government proposes a funding program of 60 million euros to the municipalities as school authorities. With this we will support half of the purchase of mobile ventilation systems and CO2 traffic lights, ”said the Prime Minister on Tuesday. But he also warned that no single protective measure offered a guarantee. Air filters cannot replace regular ventilation in classrooms. The mobile air purifiers should also help to keep the number of infections low in grades one to six in the fall, because there is currently no vaccination offer for these students.
Due to the announcement by the Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder (CSU) that all classrooms would be equipped with mobile air filter devices for the new school year, the state government in Stuttgart came under pressure to act. In Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hesse, Thuringia and North Rhine-Westphalia, the state governments now want to promote the equipping of schools with air purifiers. Comprehensive equipment of the classrooms with mobile air filter systems is not realistic either in Bavaria or in Baden-Württemberg. There are also various air purification techniques.
Stationary air conditioning systems with modern filters that can filter viruses and other pathogens from the room air offer the best protection. There are 67,000 classrooms in Baden-Württemberg alone. If one were to equip all classrooms with permanently installed air purification systems, the country would have to invest one billion euros. It would also take two to three years before schools were equipped with this technology. The state chairman of the Baden-Württemberg philologists’ association, Ralf Scholl, said that room air purifiers are also necessary because the vaccination rate for citizens under 18 is only 1.2 percent.