Press Release / Community

EMSB responds to Public Health Department’s comments on ventilation systems

joe ortona
Montreal - Friday, January 8, 2021

Despite information released today by the Quebec Public Health Department that the installation of portable air ventilators in classrooms is not recommended, the English Montreal School Board stands behind its decision to proceed with the installation of this equipment in 30 buildings which do not have mechanical ventilation systems.

The EMSB Material Resources Department undertook an extensive assessment of all 55 buildings, which house schools and adult and vocational education services.

EMSB Chair Joe Ortona emphasizes that the installation process is already a month ahead of schedule and will be completed by the end of January. “We did our due diligence before making this decision,” he stated. “We are confident that the type of air purifiers purchased, their specifications - including low noise- and their permanent installation in classrooms, respond to the concerns raised by Dr. Richard Massé from Public Health during Minister Roberge’s press conference of this morning. We will ensure that the other mitigation measures in classrooms, such as the wearing of face-coverings and natural ventilation where feasible, will be maintained in order to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible.”

Mr. Ortona will be   at Pierre Elliott Trudeau  Elementary School (6855 Cartier)  in Rosemount at 10 am Monday, January 11 when primary classes resume. Pierre Elliot Trudeau had 26 air purifiers installed over the holidays. Prinicipal Tanya Alvares will also be available to speak.   

"I would like to assure our entire community that the health, safety and security of our staff and students remains our priority,” said Mr. Ortona. “Despite such difficult circumstances, I would like to thank all of our staff who continue to go above and beyond to ensure that our students are learning in as welcoming an environment as possible. In addition to the updated measures by the provincial government, the work to install 806 air purifiers is ongoing and we are  now  on schedule to complete the installation by the end of January- a month quicker than we originally forecasted."

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 37,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, our network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at

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