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A novel approach to preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission in classrooms: An OpenFOAM based CFD Study

by   Anish Pal, et al.

The education sector has suffered a catastrophic setback due to ongoing COVID-pandemic, with classrooms being closed indefinitely. The current study aims to solve the existing dilemma by examining COVID transmission inside a classroom and providing long-term sustainable solutions. In this work, a standard 5m x 3m x 5m classroom is considered where 24 students are seated, accompanied by a teacher. A computational fluid dynamics simulation based on OpenFOAM is performed using a Eulerian-Lagrangian framework. Based on the stochastic dose response framework, we have evaluated the infection risk in the classroom for two distinct cases: (i) certain students are infected (ii) the teacher is infected. If the teacher is infected, the probability of infection could reach 100 maximum infection risk for a susceptible person reaches 30 cloth mask proves to be ineffective in providing protection against infection transmission reducing the maximum infection probability by approximately 26 only. Another commonly used solution in the form of shields installed on desks have also failed to provide adequate protection against infection reducing the infection risk only by 50 fomite mode of infection. Screens suspended from the ceiling, which entrap droplets, have been proposed as a novel solution that reduces the infection risk by 90 devoid of fomite infection mode. As a result of the screens, the class-time can be extended by 55 minutes.


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