Simple Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality in Your School
Keeping our children healthy is of course a top priority for every parent, teacher and school administrator. But the great indoors of a school facility can be a trap for all sorts of environmental toxins and air pollutants that can threaten the respiratory systems and cause other physiological reactions among students, faculty and staff of all ages. Indoor air pollution can come from all kinds of sources, from contaminated outdoor air and underground sources like pesticides, all the way to equipment in the building and laboratory supplies, cleaning materials, paint or any number of other toxic substances. Poor air quality can have a host of negative consequences for any learning environment, including an increase in illnesses (which means a reduction in attendance), a reduced productivity level by teachers and students, and higher upkeep and repair costs for your facility if moisture control issues like black mold and other problems develop. For all these reasons and many more, responsible leaders in any school environment should include an indoor air quality strategy in their overall planning for school systems throughout the calendar year. So if you have students in any school setting, from a large public school to a small homeschool room, here are some simple ways to improve indoor air quality in your school.
- REMOVE AND LIMIT THE SOURCES OF POLLUTION.
This can range from something as simple as putting the caps back on markers in classrooms to larger steps like keeping trash out of maintenance rooms where HVAC systems are located, or even having your bus drivers not idle near the building while they wait for students. You can also replace more toxic materials with less toxic ones – for example, using non-toxic paints on walls and in students’ art projects.
- CHECK YOUR EXHAUST AND VENTILATION SYSTEMS.
These include any locations in your school where a ventilation fan is supposed to get indoor air outside – places like the range hood in your kitchen to your restrooms to your science lab areas and especially any areas which store toxic substances like storage rooms. You’ll also want to ensure the proper functionality of your ventilation systems which circulate clean air from the outside into the building. This means doing a walk-through of each classroom and other space where wall units, ventilators or other air circulation devices are being used to push air in, around and out of the building. The old maxim of “don’t expect what you don’t inspect” applies here: your maintenance teams may not like the attention to detail, but you have an obligation to periodically inspect the cleanliness of your facility and require that your staff is paying attention to detail for the safety of everyone in the building, and for themselves!
- SCHEDULE HIGH-POLLUTION MAINTENANCE WHEN THE BUILDING IS EMPTY.
This means doing the majority of toxin-filled maintenance, such as stripping and waxing floors, on a Friday afternoon once students have left, or at the beginning of a longer break around the winter holidays or summer vacation. This will give the maximum amount of time for the pollutants to circulate out of the building and minimize their exposure to children and staff’s lungs. Verify that your maintenance staff is changing air filters and cleaning exhaust fans throughout the building – these simple, routine steps can make a world of difference for your indoor air quality.
- ENFORCE SMOKING REGULATIONS.
There might be plenty of signs around saying “keep 50 feet away from the building” but does anyone actually politely ask smokers to observe this regulation for the safety of others if they see them burning a quick one right by the door?
- CLEAN, DUST, AND THEN CLEAN SOME MORE.
There’s no substitute for a quick sweep and mop every day, and a routine dusting and wipe-down of all your spaces and surfaces. Keep your classrooms stocked with the basic supplies needed to accomplish these tasks, and require your teachers, students and other staff to make cleaning a little bit each day a part of their routine. If you’re short on funds, then ask parents or school benefactors to donate the supplies. Equipping and teaching students to live a cleaner, healthier life is an important part of their education too!
To learn more about how to protect your school environment, visit the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s resource guides for improving indoor air quality at https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools/take-action-improve-indoor-air-quality-schools. And if you’re realizing you need some professional assistance with getting your school’s indoor air quality improved, contact your local AdvantaClean service provider today. Since 1994, AdvantaClean has been the commercial and residential leader in every kind of moisture control and air quality service. From mold remediation to water damage restoration, from air duct cleaning to attic and basement moisture mitigation, we’ve got a solution for every structure – including every school! Get in touch with us today to see the difference that AdvantaClean can make for your facility, and more importantly, for your students and staff. We’ll show you how it’s not truly clean until it’s AdvantaClean!
Call (877) 800-2382 to schedule an appointment with our NADCA Certified Indoor Air Quality Professionals at AdvantaCleantoday!