Ventilation in Schools

Along with testing, vaccination, good hygiene and physical distancing, good ventilation is important in minimising the risk of airborne transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19.

Making sure classrooms and all other indoor spaces are well ventilated is recommended for schools at all settings of the COVID-19 Protection Framework. The best way to ventilate indoor spaces is by fully opening all windows and doors, unless the space is fitted with a ducted air conditioning system (excluding heat pumps). Keeping windows open as much as possible will help protect our tamariki by slowing the spread of COVID-19.

This release shows all key information and advice provided to Ministers and senior Ministry leaders relating to the Ministry’s Covid-19 Ventilation Response. It chronologically details the response through its initial planning and development, procurement as part of a range of risk mitigation strategies, to the procurement of CO2 monitors and air cleaners, and the deployment of these devices.

The Ministry’s evidence-based approach was informed by advice from national indoor air quality experts through both the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Research Centre panel and an established Ministry IAQ Advisory panel. These panels bring together air quality, building performance, health, science and academic experts. A targeted study of New Zealand classroom ventilation performance was also completed in collaboration with NIWA and the Universities of Canterbury and Victoria.

The Ministry will continue to base its approach, as the Covid-19 pandemic evolves, in response to evidence and best practice. Our approach broadly aligns with that taken in several other countries and jurisdictions. More information about the approaches taken elsewhere is available at:

South Australia - Department for Education South Australia - Statement on ventilation in schools(external link)

New South Wales - New South Wales Government - Ventilation in NSW schools(external link)

Victoria - Department of Education and Training Victoria - Ventilation and Air Purification(external link)

Queensland - Queensland Government Department of Education - Creating a COVID safe environment(external link)

Western Australia - Western Australia Government Department of Education - COVID-19 safe schools(external link)

England - Department for Education - Schools COVID-19 operational guidance(external link)

Ontario - Government of Ontario - Ventilation(external link)

Advice seen by Ministers




19 Nov 2021 Education Report: School ventilation approach under COVID-19 [PDF, 1.9 MB] 1277412
4 Feb 2022 Information Provided to the Minister October 2021 - February 2022 [PDF, 1.3 MB]  
14 Feb 2022 Internal Memo: Proposed deployment strategy for portable air cleaners [PDF, 1.3 MB]  


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