The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council released a series of fact sheets with strategies for improving indoor air quality (IAQ) in schools. The IAQ Fact Sheet Series is designed to help people without a technical background—such as school board members, teachers, and parents—to understand details about IAQ so that they can make important decisions for their schools.
While schools across the country are debating important public health measures to help curb the spread of COVID-19, indoor air quality measures offer a non-controversial way to take concrete action to increase protection for everyone in schools. In response to feedback from teachers, parents, school board members and others about the confusing messages they’re getting about indoor air quality strategies, the Center for Green Schools brought together dozens of experts to create simple straightforward resources about the most pressing topics.
Studies have shown that good indoor air quality and proper ventilation in schools can improve the health of students, teachers and staff, potentially decreasing sick days and also improve student learning.
“Indoor air quality in schools has a real impact on students’ health and ability to learn in the classroom,” said Anisa Heming, director of the Center for Green Schools. “The IAQ Fact Sheet Series provides educators, parents and other members of the community simple and straightforward resources to understand indoor air quality strategies and use that information to take concrete action for their students.”
When combined with other best practices recommended by the Center for Disease Control, such as masks, physical distancing, and hand-washing, proper air ventilation and filtration protects staff and students from indoor airborne contaminants such as COVID-19.
Earlier this year, the Center released survey results from school districts across the country about how they have implemented air quality measures during the pandemic. The survey found that the majority of schools have acted to address air quality, but they struggled with outdated infrastructure and high costs. The survey is the first known national view of IAQ in schools during the pandemic and included responses representing over 4,000 schools serving over 2.5 million students in 24 states.
With the passage of the American Rescue Plan and ongoing negotiations of a national infrastructure bill, school districts across the country have an enormous opportunity to improve and invest in school infrastructure and address persistent inequalities. The fact sheet series gives community advocates and school decision-makers clear information to act in support of student health and to direct funding to positively impact all students.
The fact sheet series was supported through a generous grant from Flu Lab.
The full IAQ Fact Sheets Series can be viewed here.