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Ventilation and Air Purification

In addition to other public health measures, ventilation plays a role in reducing the transmission of COVID-19 indoors. Ventilating a room or indoor space replaces the indoor air with outdoor air. This will dilute and replace air contaminated with COVID-19 virus or other air pollutants. Ventilation systems in Ryerson’s buildings recirculate air through the HVAC system, where some of the indoor air is diluted with outdoor air and filtered before returning to the occupied space.  

Ryerson follows the industry best practices for filter replacement and our air filters meet or exceed the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating recommendations — for filtering fine particles in the air — and guidelines put forward by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) and Public Health.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the university has taken additional steps to ensure adequate ventilation in indoor spaces to extract air contaminants and bring in fresh air:

  • In summer 2020, Ryerson University began measuring airflow rates in classrooms, studios and teaching labs, and study spaces, plus additional identified spaces, to set safe capacity limits. This work will continue through the summer and fall.
  • Many buildings have MERV 13 filters installed. Where necessary, air quality will be enhanced through additional methods such as portable air purifiers. 
  • Investing strategically in upgrading HVAC systems, such as in the Early Learning Centre.  
  • Ryerson’s Facilities team regularly inspects and replaces the air filters in all of our air handling units that are responsible for removing particles in the air such as dust, smoke, allergens, airborne bacteria and other pathogens. 

In preparation for the increase in activity on campus this fall, the university is working with a consultant to ensure best practices and standards for HVAC and filtration with regards to COVID-19 have been implemented.