Teachers must open windows as a Covid precaution, despite falling temperatures as students return to school this week.
The National Education Union (NEU) has called on the government to invest in more air purification units, which improve indoor ventilation and provide a warmer alternative to opening windows.
The devices were tested in Bradford primary schools before Christmas to see how effective they were.
The Education Department announced the purchase of 7,000 purifiers this week, saying they were only needed in a handful of classrooms as a “quick fix” where opening windows was impossible .
But NEU’s Wakefield District branch secretary Sally Kincaid said they should be rolled out to more schools, beyond what she described as “tiny” numbers covered up. here.
She said: “It’s not only our members who are freezing cold, it’s also the children, who have to sit in the classrooms with woolen hats and gloves.
“It’s especially bad for older elementary school children who sit most of the day and can’t move.
“These purifiers have been used in places like New York and Hong Kong and they work.”
“They cost around £ 200 each. It’s a lot for schools when their budgets are so tight right now.
“But for the government, buying one for each classroom would cost them about half the price of the royal yacht.”
Ms Kincaid said local teachers were reporting very high readings on the carbon dioxide monitors they used to measure ventilation, demonstrating how necessary purifiers were.
She added, “We want our kids to be in class and we want schools to be open.
“But if we are to avoid the chaos we have seen before, with absent students and understaffed schools, something has to be done.”
Speaking earlier this week, Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “There is no doubt that the Omicron variant presents challenges, but the entire education sector has responded with a Herculean effort, and for that I thank each of you.
“The Prime Minister and I have made it clear that education is our number one priority. These measures will strengthen our supportive schools as we do everything in our power to minimize disruption.”
Information service on local democracy