EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
What is Tools for Schools?
The Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools program is a voluntary program that encourages schools to carry out a practical plan of action to improve indoor air quality at little or no cost using common-sense activities and in-house staff. The program is implemented by the school staff using a Tools for Schools Kit that provides simple-to-follow checklists, background information, sample memos and policies, a recommended IAQ Management Plan, and a unique IAQ Problem Solving Wheel. Ten appendices include information on topics such as hiring outside assistance, and mold and moisture control. Two videos, Taking Action and Ventilation Basics , are also included in the Kit.
How can Tools for Schools help my school or school district?
In addition to helping ensure a healthy and productive learning environment, the Kit can also help save the school's resources by:
- Reducing absenteeism and sick days for students and staff;
- Reducing deterioration and improved energy efficiency of the school's heating, cooling, and ventilation systems;
- Reducing the possibility of school closings and temporary relocation;
- Preventing strained relationships among school administration, parents, staff, and negative publicity; and
- Reducing potential liability problems.
Who should be using the Kit?
The Kit is targeted at the 15,000 school districts and 110,000 existing K-12 schools in the United States. The Kit provides materials for teachers, custodians, health officers, and others whose daily decisions and activities affect the quality of the air within the school.
How does it work?
The Kit provides:
- Voluntary activities;
- No/low cost projects;
- Common sense solutions;
- Easy-to-use checklists;
- Flexibility for who, how, and when; and
- Common problem targeting.
The guidance is not:
- Another costly regulatory program;
- A technical manual requiring specialized training; or
- A guidance that requires pollutant measurements.
Who sponsors Tools for Schools?
- American Lung Association
- American Federation of Teachers
- Association of School Business Officials
- Council for American Private Education
- National Education Association
- National PTA
What are Region 6's goals for Tools for Schools?
The top priority of the Indoor Environments Team is to reduce health risks to children from indoor environmental factors in the home, school, and daycare environments. Increased awareness of IAQ issues and implementation of Tools for Schools will promote healthier and safer learning conditions for children and staff. Our outreach goal involves these three key principals:
- School staff and students can prevent many indoor air quality problems.
- When IAQ problems happen, they can often be resolved using the skills of school staff.
- The expense and effort required to prevent most IAQ problems is much less than the expense and effort to solve problems after they develop.
Additionally, the Tools for Schools Kit components are available for schools wishing to do self-training and be recognized as implementing an IAQ management plan.
How are you spreading the word about Tools for Schools?
To further facilitate outreach to school districts, we have an E-mail school contact database that we use to provide IAQ information and additional resources to the school districts. If you are interested in being a part of our database, please contact Stacy Murphy (214-665-7116): firstname.lastname@example.org )
How can I order a Tools for Schools kit?
“For ordering information or to access the kit online, please visit http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/actionkit.html”