It may be summer, but the fall signals reopening schools from COVID quarantines in many regions across the country. With it, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) WELL Health-Safety Rating is ensuring a safe return for staff and students alike.
Launched in July 2020, the system was developed in conjunction with over 600 experts in academia, public health, design, government, real estate, and medicine. It combines building expertise and almost a decade of health and building science to promote safety across all types of buildings. As a result, its need and applicability has been quickly recognized, with many schools across the country leveraging the program, according to a press release from the IWBI.
“Right now, school leaders are working around the clock to plan for a successful and safe return to in-person learning. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is designed to empower school leaders by providing a seamless experience backed by evidence-based solutions as well as third-party verification,” said Rachel Hodgdon, president and CEO, IWBI. “Every student, teacher, staff member and parent deserve the confidence of knowing that when they enter their school building, stringent health and safety protocols built on science have been followed.”
By addressing a range of health risks through building and operations strategies, WELL helps school leaders meet immediate COVID-19 needs while promoting long-term health and safety for students, teachers, visitors, and stakeholders. The program offers an efficient and cost-effective solution that guides, validates, and scales efforts to address health and safety issues in these spaces. Such issues addressed include air and water quality management, cleaning and sanitation methods, emergency preparedness, and health service resources, as well as stakeholder communications and engagement.
Fairfax County, VA, with its 219 school and administrative buildings, along with the Upper S. Claire District in Pittsburgh, PA and its six buildings are the first districts in the U.S. to achieve a WELL Rating.
“The health and safety of our students and staff, as well as others who use our school facilities, remain a top priority for our district. The WELL Health-Safety seal is further testament that we are sincere in our efforts to go above and beyond to provide the safest environment possible for teaching and learning,” said superintendent of Upper St. Clair school, Dr. John Rozzo.