TEACHERS have raised concerns over the “patchy” provision of monitors used to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 in classrooms.

Mike Corbett, of the NASUWT teaching union, told Holyrood’s Education Committee that while one local authority had installed CO2 monitors in every teaching area, about half of all councils relied on mobile monitors, which can be moved between classrooms.

He added that there were also “issues around the installation” of monitors, saying some were being sited too near to open windows.

It comes as the arrival of the Omicron variant of coronavirus has made teachers “more anxious than ever that there should be good ventilation and good air quality in their classrooms”.

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Mr Corbett, the national officer in Scotland for the NASUWT, said that while the commitment had been made to purchase CO2 monitors across Scotland, the union had had “really patchy feedback on that”.

He said: “We’ve got a local authority where they have not only installed CO2 monitors in every teaching area, they are linked to wifi and are monitored constantly by local health and safety officers, and if there is a feeling air quality is poor, they take immediate action.

“A number of other authorities, probably half, have bought mobile monitors, so they are only in classrooms some of the time.

“There are also issues about the installation of some of those monitors, some being too near windows, etcetera. So there is a real issue about the quality of the data that some local authorities are gathering.

“And, obviously, at the moment, there is another new variant, our members are more anxious than ever that there should be good ventilation and good air quality in their classrooms and, certainly, in some areas we don’t think we can say that.”

He added: “We were told there is access to a monitor in 100% of classrooms, but if that is a mobile monitor that is only in your classroom or your teaching area briefly, and then taken round the school, I don’t see how that can give us reasonable data to then act upon.”

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Mr Corbett raised concerns about classroom ventilation at the same time as he called for teachers to be given more “respect” – saying this needed to be reflected in their salaries.

Teachers’ unions recently rejected a “derisory” pay deal for a 1.22% rise, with Mr Corbett saying this had “really upset and annoyed a number of teachers at the moment, given what they have put in during the pandemic”.

He told the committee “I think there is much greater respect for teachers in other countries like Finland, and I think that is a new approach we need with our workforce.

“Key at the moment would be to pay our teachers properly, there’s plenty around about the current pay offer and how it is a significant real terms pay cut.”