A group of dads in Australia got together to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in their kids’ school
The pandemic has been on our minds much longer than anyone could have anticipated, and usually when you hear COVID-19, the news isn’t the best, but this news is. A group of dads in Australia were able to mitigate the spread of the very contagious omicron variant in their children’s school. The dads, whose children attend Brisbane Independent School in Pullenvale, Queensland, got together with the principal to figure out how they could prevent outbreaks of the omicron variant. They used their knowledge in science and engineering to come up with a plan to stay ahead of the contagious virus that they all knew could spread through the school like wildfire. Dads in the group included a scientist that specializes in marine ecology, an engineer and a medical specialist.
In December, the dads began discussing how they could keep the small school’s 71 children safe after the border was recently reopened. They decided to do something that Bill Nye would be proud of, and turned to science and what they knew about how the virus spreads. Ventilation was key in keeping the spread as low as possible, and these dads did not disappoint when they put their heads together to figure things out. The group used a smoke machine to study airflow patterns in the classrooms and administration areas, and carbon dioxide meters were used to identify “dead spots” where ventilation was low.
They purchased air purifiers that included high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters to lower the risk of SARS-CoV-2 particles circulating throughout the classrooms and other areas of the school. The school also invested in CO2 monitors for every classroom to monitor and track trends in data and identify how the ventilation was working. The dads used fans to adjust the airflow in the classrooms to help account for the “dead zones,” and the experiment worked! The dead zones were eliminated and the classes were able to keep track of the flow, or lack thereof, with the CO2 monitors.
— Jez Roff (@Jez Roff)
This didn’t completely stop people from contracting COVID-19, as a teacher and one or two students in several of the classes did test positive, but the transmission was not traced back to the school building. All in all, this was a huge success. The group of dedicated dads was able to prevent community spread throughout the school by utilizing their skills in science and engineering. Dr. George Roff, a scientist and one of the dads that helped make this possible, told ABC News Australia, “Our goal in creating clean-air classrooms at the school was to minimize this risk of transmission within the community.”
It’s clear that these dads were on a mission to limit the risks for their kids, and used their smarts to stop the virus it in its tracks. Brisbane Independent School principal Lachlyn Bowie said she was grateful for the expertise of the parents. “At the end of the day, this is about health and safety. We’re trying to protect our students and staff,” she said. These parents prove that love has no bounds and using a little ingenuity can go a long way to protect not only their kids, but others as well.
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