Ventilation matters

How the University is managing the risks associated with COVID-19 being an airborne virus

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, it became apparent that a key method of transmission was via aerosols and air flow.

Like all airborne pathogens, the principles for minimising transmission through air in our buildings include:

  • Ventilation with fresh outside air reduces the concentration of airborne contaminants
  • Filtration of recirculating air reduces the concentration of airborne virus particles
  • Minimising the transfer of air between spaces reduces opportunities for the virus to spread through a building via the air-conditioning flow patterns

The University of Melbourne is implementing a variety of ventilation and filtration infrastructure controls to protect the University community from indoor airborne transmission of COVID-19, including:

  • Assessing ventilation systems and control measures, prioritising currently active spaces
  • Increasing ventilation via mechanical or natural means
  • Filtration of recirculating air to remove more airborne virus particles
  • Real-time monitoring carbon dioxide (CO2) levels as a proxy to evaluate airborne virus risk and adequate fresh air supply
  • Updating operating procedures and maintenance cycles
  • Directing air flow away from people where possible
  • Changing filters as part of deep cleaning process following a confirmed COVID-19 case being present in a space

We’re also encouraging students and staff to increase their use of outdoor areas where possible for outdoor classrooms, informal study, walking meetings, meals and other breaks.