Our November update - Happy Anniversary to OSS
Hello Ontario School Safety supporters,
We said in our last update that the clean air movement is growing and since then we have seen the needle continue to move in the right direction. Take a look through our November update to learn the ways in which OSS and all of your support is making a difference in improving indoor air quality in classrooms.
Ontario School Safety celebrates its first anniversary!
Today, November 16, 2023 is our first anniversary, and we are so proud of our accomplishments so far. What started as a group of strangers on Twitter became a small but fiercely dedicated team, ready to hold the government accountable for their inaction around keeping students and education workers safe in schools. These individuals came together and volunteered their time, resources, and money to create an entity bigger than any one person—and they called themselves “Ontario School Safety.”
Since then, our membership has grown to 60 people, our mailing list has grown to over 300 people, and we’ve raised over $44,000. We've facilitated awareness and action within our community through open letters, press conferences, media interviews, template letters, and educational resources. We've engaged with school boards, conducted delegations, and even hosted a successful DIY Corsi-Rosenthal Box air purifier workshop, empowering individuals to be active participants in our cause.
Looking back on this incredible first year, we're immensely grateful for the encouragement and enthusiasm from our followers that have fueled our progress. So we want to thank you, reader, for all of your support along the way. As we begin our second year, OSS is determined to keep pushing for better learning and working conditions for our kids and education workers.
Ontario School Safety endorses new bill for improving indoor air quality in schools and childcare settings
On October 19, the Improving Air Quality for Our Children Act was tabled in the Legislature and OSS spoke alongside other experts at a Queen’s Park press conference to show our support for the bill. This private members’ bill is also backed by the Ontario Society of Professional Engineers (OSPE). The bill offers a three-part plan that involves monitoring and reporting carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in all areas of school and child care facilities as well as the requirement for action plans to be implemented when CO2 rises above the set maximum thresholds.
Carbon dioxide is exhaled whenever we talk, breathe, sing, or shout, so when the levels become too high, it can mean that the ventilation is not adequate and that fresh air or air purifiers are needed to clean the air. This is why monitoring CO2 can act as an alarm for ventilation systems, similar to how smoke detectors serve as an alarm for potential fires. Keeping CO2 levels low has also been shown to improve cognitive performance and productivity, as well as to help us remain alert.
We believe that this is a first step in the right direction to solving the indoor air quality crisis in our classrooms.
Clean, breathable, healthy air is a human right — just like having clean drinking water. Improving indoor air quality in public buildings, especially in schools and on school buses, is common sense. We fully support any legislation that is backed by science, is supported by ventilation engineers like those at OSPE, and moves indoor air quality to the forefront — for our kids, our education workers, and our communities.
- Kate Laing, Chair of Ontario School Safety
A Clean Air For Kids Town Hall meeting was also held on Monday, October 30, 2023 to discuss the bill and answer questions, and OSS was honoured to be part of the panel of speakers. You can also read our full media statement regarding the bill here.
Help us keep the momentum going!
Add your name to support the Improving Air Quality for Our Children Act.
Contact your MPP using our email template to voice your support for the Improving Air Quality for Our Children Act. OSS has made it really easy for you to do this in under five minutes!
Spread the word! Tell your friends, family, teachers, parent council members, principal, and trustee about the bill and the importance of improving the air quality in schools and childcare centres.
OSS Tools and Resources
Here are some tools and resources that we have developed to help educate others about the importance of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) in schools and childcare centres:
NEW! Updated letter to teachers: We have updated our printable/downloadable letter to give to teachers which contains easy-to-implement tips on how to improve classroom air quality.
NEW! Masking infographic: We have an infographic highlighting the benefits of N95/KN95 masks.
Interested in doing more to help? There are many other ways to get involved:
Tell us your story: If your family has been impacted by the indoor air quality in schools including illnesses being transmitted within schools, please share your story with us.
Send us your tips: If you have information about what’s happening in a school, childcare centre or school bus with respect to air quality, HEPA filters, or staff and student absences please email us at email@example.com—your information will be kept confidential but please do not email us from a work email address.
Volunteer: We are always looking for volunteers to help with legal or health research or advocacy, fundraising, content creation, finance/bookkeeping, and so on. Please fill out our volunteer form to get started.
Donate: OSS continues to raise funds to launch a legal challenge to hold the government accountable to their duty to protect children in classrooms. For more information, please visit our GoFundMe page.
IAQ news and resources
Here are a few indoor air quality resources to check out this month:
Former teacher, parent push for cleaner air in London area schools | The London Free Press
WHO Europe Indoor Air Conference | Geneva Health Forum
Collaborating on Solutions for Cleaner School Air | Occupational Health Clinics for Ontario Workers Inc.
Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools | US Environmental Protection Agency
Thank you for being part of the clean air revolution!
- Ontario School Safety
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