Ventilation in schools

Ventilation in schools

The COVID-19 pandemic will continue to require a health and safety response from schools to minimise the risk of transmission. The Ministry is continuing to support schools to maintain good ventilation in their spaces year-round.

Our advice to schools is to maximise fresh-air ventilation capabilities as much as possible while maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures, to help to reduce the risk of transmission of airborne illnesses including COVID-19. 

The importance of ventilation

All New Zealand schools are designed to be well-ventilated, either naturally or mechanically. When airborne illnesses are prevalent, maintaining good indoor air quality reduces the risk of airborne transmission by regularly refreshing the air in a space. 

The best way to achieve good ventilation is to open windows and doors, either fully or partially, whenever you can. The exception to this is spaces that are fitted with ducted air conditioning systems which do not rely on opening windows to bring in fresh air.  Note that heat pumps are not ducted air conditioning systems as they do not bring in fresh outdoor air, they only cool/heat and re-cycle the existing indoor air.

Our guidance is provided to help schools understand how ventilation works, and to assess and mitigate the risks caused by poor ventilation. 

Schools are encouraged to follow our guidance and fine-tune their ventilation strategies year-round, to cater for the seasonal and outdoor conditions.

Support for schools

Support is available to schools who are concerned about maintaining good ventilation. This includes:

  • The ability to purchase suitable portable air cleaners and CO2 monitors from the Ministry’s nominated suppliers at discounted pricing.
  • Downloadable resources and other useful tools to help schools follow the guidance. 

For further ventilation advice and support, please contact your Ministry property advisor or