teens completing assignments while sitting at their desks

Healthy Schools

Each school day, 55 million children and 7 million adults —that’s 20% of the total U.S. population and 98% of all children—spend their workdays inside school buildings. Unfortunately, too many of our nation’s 130,000 public and private K-12 schools are “unhealthy” buildings that can harm their health and hinder learning. Today, clear and convincing research shows that improving school indoor environmental quality improves attendance, academic performance, and productivity. 

The U.S. EPA has estimated that up to half of all schools have problems with indoor environmental quality. Children and staff are all affected by:

  • polluted indoor air and outdoor air
  • toxic chemical and pesticide use; chemical spills
  • mold infestations
  • asbestos, radon
  • lead in paint and drinking water
  • inadequate chemical management
  • poor siting, design
  • hazardous materials purchased and stored onsite
  • heavy metals and other toxics, such as mercury, CCA, PCBs

Reducing environmental risks inside these buildings is critical to maintaining the public health. To help our children stay healthy, we must reduce their exposure to environmental hazards in school environments. When students and teachers are healthy and comfortable, children learn and produce more in the classroom, which in turn improves performance and achievement later in life.

Resources

Asthma Regional Council of New England (ARC)

Creating Healthy Indoor Environment in Schools - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Initiating Change: Creating an Asthma Friendly School - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

National Association of School Nurses

Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities - National Institute for Educational Statistics

Partners for Healthy School Environments - New Hampshire Partners for Healthy Schools

Pollution Prevention in Schools - NH Department of Environmental Services

School and Childcare providers - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Webinars

Healthy Schools Webinars

Tools

Tips for Cleaning Out Your Classroom

Top Ten Low or No Cost Interventions

Classroom Cleanout

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