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More air purifiers to be installed in classrooms

More air purifiers will be installed in classrooms across South Korea, the Education Ministry said Sunday, as concerns are growing over children’s health amid toxic levels of dust particles.

The plans were laid out at a meeting among some 17 officials from 17 regional education offices to boost students’ safety at schools. 

This year, 58.2 percent of the classrooms in the country have air purifiers installed, up from 29.1 percent last year, according to government data. Some 88.3 percent of the schools had at least one classroom equipped with air purifiers. 

Some 53,500 purifiers will be added to special education schools, kindergartens, elementary schools, and 62,700 devices to middle school and high schools. Some 9,800 schools that do not have even one air purifier will have their first devices installed this year. 

In the first half of his year, schools will draw up measures to effectively manage air purifiers -- from cleaning the purifiers to changing their filters.
The regional education offices will cover costs to maintain the operation of the purifiers. 

The ministry aims to designate two people in charge of education on fine dust at every school and institute. 

The plans to improve student safety at schools also involves the removal of asbestos.

When construction to remove hazardous asbestos from schools takes place, parents will be informed in advance and schools can adjust their calendars through an “advance warning system,” according to the plan.