IAQ Tools for Schools
Health and Achievement
Teachers and Healthy Indoor School Environments
The most effective school IAQ management teams often include a concerned teacher who is passionate about keeping students healthy and encouraging their top performance. Use your voice to promote school IAQ management and other environmental health issues in schools.
Teachers can be powerful advocates for creating healthy indoor environments, including improving school indoor air quality, or IAQ. As they are on the front lines, teachers can perceive when IAQ changes affect students and themselves. By being involved in creating a clean and healthy learning environment, teachers can promote health, wellness and academic productivity.
Top Actions Teachers Can Take to Address IAQ
- Keep ventilation units in classrooms free of clutter.
- Report any IAQ issues and maintenance problems occurring in classrooms and hallways immediately.
- If classroom pets cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma attacks, either relocate the pet away from sensitive students or consider replacing the animal with a classroom fish, or an animal that will not trigger allergy and asthma attacks in any students. Some school districts have policies that ban pets with fur or feathers.
- Reduce the number of items made of cloth in your classroom, including furniture, draperies or stuffed animals. These materials attract dust mites, which can negatively impact sensitive students.
- Practice chemical management in your classrooms, if appropriate.
- Understand the effects of poor IAQ on student and staff productivity and health.
- Review the IAQ and Student Performance information and resources.
EPA Resources for Teachers
- Refer to the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit.
Other Resources for Teachers
- American Federation of Teachers — What You Should Know About Indoor Air Quality (PDF) This document explains Sick Building Syndrome and provides IAQ checklists.
- National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) — NEHA offers national credential programs related to environmental health and safety, sponsors technical workshops, and functions as a one-stop-shop for publications that provide NEHA members with education in virtually every area of the environmental field. http://www.neha.org/index.shtml
IAQ Lesson Plans
Integrating IAQ topics into lesson plans can empower students by informing them of actions they can take to improve school IAQ, and help build understanding and support for a school-wide IAQ management program. IAQ issues could be taught in environmental science, chemistry, statistics, math and many other classes. Teachers who have incorporated IAQ information in their lesson plans have reported increased class participation, greater respect for the classroom environment and increased awareness of how personal actions affect the environment.
- Download interactive lesson plans from the National Education Association Health Information Network. These lesson plans are designed for grades K-12 and are tied to state education standards.