The Healthy Schools Campaign and Green Seal have announced a pilot certification standard to support facility leaders in identifying and implementing low- to no-cost measures to improve air quality. The pilot standard is publicly available to all school districts and universities and is designed to implemented on district or university levels to ensure total organizational commitment to standard operating procedures, resource distribution and facility maintenance that supports the health of all students, staff and the environment.
“The pandemic has made creating healthy school environments an urgent national priority and brought to light the significant under-investment in school facilities nationwide,” says Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal. “This national standard fills a critical gap to provide schools with the resources and network to ensure a quality of school facility that every student in America deserves.”
The pioneering early adopters of the program include nine school districts and 10 colleges and universities. Each will begin formally implementing its measures to provide data and advice on the thresholds and certification levels. The full Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program, including self-assessment tools, educational resources, a peer network and certification opportunities, will be available in the spring.
“Unhealthy indoor air, inadequate ventilation, and chemical exposure from cleaning and maintenance routines are linked to poor concentration and test performance in students. These conditions are disproportionately found in schools serving primarily low-income Black and Latin students, making this an important issue of equity,” says Rochelle Davis, president and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign.
“The Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program is designed for any school district or university that commits to providing safer and healthier indoor school environments, whether they are just getting started on this path or already are leaders.”
More on the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Program
The standard itself was designed in partnership with K-12 and university facility directors with input from early adopters, stakeholders and the public and covers the full range of facilities management practices, including:
- Cleaning and Disinfecting to reduce risk of adverse health consequences to cleaning staff, students and faculty.
- Integrated Pest Management to protect occupants from environmental health hazards and improve indoor air quality (IAQ).
- Sustainable Purchasing to ensure facility or district purchases reduce negative environmental impacts while also reducing the spread of infectious disease and delivering on increased functional performance.
- HVAC and Electric Maintenance to ensure proactive and preventative maintenance to maximize effectiveness and efficiency.
- IAQ Testing and Monitoring to ensure the necessary measures are in place to monitor and maintain healthy environments within facilities.
- Training to ensure personnel work in the safest, healthiest and most effective manner possible.
- Communication to develop effective, equitable conversations at all levels.
These standards will be the centerpiece of the program, with a self-assessment tool allowing schools to objectively measure their current indoor environmental health and sustainability performance. Guidebooks, trainings and tools, meanwhile, will help professionals determine and take the next steps.
To learn more about the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges standard and program, visit their website, here.