Thursday, May 23, 2013

Spring into Action! Clean Your Way to a Healthier School.

image: Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program

Spring into Action!
Clean Your Way to a Healthier School.
Spring cleaning involves more than just getting rid of clutter and opening the windows. It is also an opportunity to protect the health of students and staff. Schools can protect and improve occupant health by keeping classrooms and common areas clean and well-maintained as part of an indoor air quality (IAQ) management program focused on green cleaning and maintenance. Green cleaning involves the use of products and services that reduce negative health and environmental impacts compared with other products and services used for the same purpose.
Here are some tips you can use to get everyone in your school involved in spring cleaning and IAQ management:
·         Take action and create a healthy classroom. Spring cleaning activities can help staff and students see the value of a clean and healthy learning space. Teachers and students can take action by using the classroom checklist in the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit! Checklist action items include removing potentially toxic or unapproved cleaning products or air fresheners, and eliminating open food containers to reduce unwanted pests. Using the checklist to perform a classroom walkthrough can be a fun learning activity for students, while educating the teacher on actions they can take to create a healthy and clean learning environment!
·         Assess your schools’ green cleaning practices. If your school already has a cleaning and maintenance plan in place, now is a great time to determine whether that plan includes green cleaning strategies, and is being correctly followed and implemented. Look at your school’s purchasing policies and consider switching to more environmentally friendly, less toxic cleaning supplies. Make sure your cleaning and maintenance staff is following IAQ protocols and best practices, such as cleaning and removing dust with a damp cloth and using a vacuum with high-efficiency filters. Check out the resources below for more information.
o    The Quick & Easy Guide to Green Cleaning in Schools: This publication, released by the Healthy Schools Campaign, presents five easy steps to a greener, healthier environment for students, faculty and staff.
o    Cleaning for Healthy Schools Toolkit: A free "do-it-yourself" tool from the Healthy Schools Network on how to find and implement the use of certified green cleaning products.
·         Reduce asthma and allergy triggers that can enter the learning environment. In spring, there is a greater chance of outdoor allergens, such as pollen, entering classrooms. These allergens can exacerbate asthma symptoms, potentially resulting in increased absenteeism. Spring cleaning helps to protect student and staff health, especially the occupants who have asthma or seasonal allergies.
o    Learn more on managing asthma in schools by checking out EPA’s online resources.
o    Download EPA’s Managing Asthma in the School Environment booklet to learn what you can do to take control of asthma in your school.
o    Review additional EPA publications on asthma in schools.-
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If you have any questions about the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance, please contact the IAQ Tools for Schools Connector Coordinator at

The IAQ Tools for Schools guidance is a comprehensive resource designed to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting and preventing IAQ problems. Learn more about the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance at

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