On 6th April (Friday), the Ministry of Education (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education KIM, Sang-kon) has published “measures to combat high levels of fine dust” in order to protect students who are vulnerable to fine dust.
Those measures include stricter indoor air quality management standards, installation of more air purifiers in classrooms, support for building indoor sports facilities in schools, reinforced protection for children and respiratory disease patients.
* (Groups sensitive to fine dust) babies and children, elderly people, pregnant women, patients with medical conditions.
Stricter air quality management standards for better air quality in schools
The MOE has introduced a new standard for better air quality in schools (27th March 2018).
Principals of schools will regularly carry out inspections, and in case the fine dust level exceeds the standards, they will take measures to eliminate the fine dust.
Dust with a diameter smaller than 10 μm
Dust with a diameter smaller than 10 μm
Dust with a diameter smaller than 2.5 μm
More air purifiers installed in schools
As the outdoor fine dust environment standards have become stricter, students are encouraged to stay indoors more. Therefore, the Ministry has discussed with local offices of education to install more air purifiers for better air quality.
For this purpose, the Ministry has established, together with specialists and civil society, “(Common) Standards for the Management and Installation of Air Purification Systems.” The local offices of education will complete installing air purification systems over the next 3 years in kindergarten, primary schools and special schools according to the standards and by considering the sources of pollution.
(General standards) Newly-built school constructions need to install mechanical ventilation system. Older constructions should also consider installing mechanical ventilation system by taking into account the conditions of the construction. If the installment of ventilation equipment is impossible, an air purifier should be installed. (Prioritized schools) Kindergarten, primary schools, and special schools should be prioritized. If there are students with asthma or other conditions, those schools shall also be prioritized. (Prioritized areas) Schools where the fine dust exceed the standards (for two years in a row), schools situated next to an industrial complex, major roads, major construction sites, areas where the air pollution is quite bad. (Standard of use) In daily situations, natural ventilation through the window is recommended, but if the outdoor fine dust level is worse than “bad”, windows should be closed and air purifiers should be operated. (Daily management) It is recommended to wear slippers indoors, and the floor should be wiped daily, vacuumed and wiped with a wet mop more than once a week.
* According to a research, by the end of March 2018, air purifiers have been installed in 60,767 schools (37.6%) out of all kindergartens, primary schools, special schools (161,731).
->In 2018, air purifiers are going to be installed in 2,700 schools close to roads and 39,000 schools.
The budget for the installation of air purifiers is estimated at 22 million won (the amount differs depending on the type of the air purifier)
* 2 million won per classroom (depending on the type, the amount is expected to be between 1 million and 3 million won)
The budget required for the 2018 installation of air purifiers will be appropriated by local expenses. The MOE will cooperate continuously with local education offices for the selection of prioritized schools.
Support for installation of indoor sports facilities
The Ministry supports the installation of indoor sports facilities, so that even in case of hazardous levels of fine dust, physical education classes can be held.
In late 2017, the installation of indoor sports facilities was launched, and will be completed in 2019. The budget required for this installation will amount to 380 billion won and will be appropriated by local expenses.
The Ministry will cooperate with local education offices to include the equipment of air purifiers into the blueprint.
Stronger protection for infants and patients against micro-dust
The Ministry will especially strengthen the protection for infants, children and patients with medical conditions due to fine dust.
Schools will be informed about the students who are especially vulnerable, and will have emergency measures and medications ready.
If the level of fine dust is worse than ‘bad’, the absence of vulnerable patients should be admitted as an absence due to illness.
To deal with fine dust, an officer in charge for fine dust will be designated, and a manual for coping with fine dust will be distributed. In addition, since last year, the Ministry is cooperating with the Ministry of Environment for the education of the person in charge of fine dust.
Furthermore, education and publicity campaigns concerning the implications of fine dust will be strengthened, and students and teachers will be educated to be well aware of the dangers of fine dust and to have a counter plan.
The Ministry of Education, last year, published a counter plan against fine dust as part of the “Whole-of-Government Plan for the Management of Fine Dust.”
The Deputy PM said, “We have included the opinions of civil society, schools, and medical specialists,” and “In the future, with the help of government departments and schools, we will establish countermeasures to do our best to protect the health of our students.”