IAQ Tools for Schools
Find an IAQ Champion
EPA Region 1 Contact
Phone: (617) 918-1639
Address: 5 Post Office Square, Boston, MA 02109-3912
Region 1 IAQ Champions
Amity Regional School District # 5, Woodbridge, Conn.
Contact: Jack Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org
Amity Regional School District #5 adopted the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance after parents threatened to remove their children from school due to mold IAQ issues that caused an auditorium to be closed. To create healthy facilities, the district hired a new director of finance and administration who had a track record of successful implementation of a district-wide IAQ management program. The district also formed IAQ teams and committees and developed standard operating procedures for responding to IAQ complaints. The complaints are filed through an online work request system and the IAQ team investigates the complaints and informs stakeholders of all steps taken to mitigate the issues of concern.
Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team, CT Department of Public Health, Hartford, Conn.
Contact: Kenny Foscue, email@example.com
The Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team (CSIERT) was founded in 1999 by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, EPA New England and the Connecticut Council for Occupational Safety and Health. CSIERT is now a statewide network of IAQ specialists, trainers and health experts. CSIERT is one of just a few state-based programs in the country and has become a one-stop resource for schools that need help with the basics of IAQ to the most sophisticated of issues involving school environmental health.
Connecticut Technical High School System, CT Department of Education , Middletown, Conn.
Contact: John Woodmansee, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Connecticut Technical High School System (CTHSS) used the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to establish an IAQ management program for technical high schools called Tools for Techs. Tools for Techs targeted trade and technology instructional areas and received instant support from stakeholders including the teachers union, superintendent and assistant superintendent. CTHSS kicked off the program with a series of informative walkthroughs at several technical high schools to assess the needs of the schools and create customized checklists. These checklists are available online (www.oehc.uchc.edu/CIEH_TfT.asp ) to encourage the participation of other schools in the system and to maintain open communications between stakeholders. CTHSS also helped form IAQ committees at each school and trained members on IAQ management skills.
Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, Conn.
Contact: Dr. Alex Nardone
Hartford Public Schools believes in providing students with safe, clean and healthy schools throughout the district. The district utilized the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit to mobilize staff to address IAQ issues and establish procedures that would lead to sustained improvements. With the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance in hand, the district responded proactively to Connecticut's legislation requiring school systems to adopt IAQ management programs. Each school established a School Health and Safety Team that was trained to use information in the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit to identify, organize and prioritize IAQ issues. District mentors are available to help teams at the schools and are viewed as a powerful force to foster new partnerships and success. In addition, IAQ management in the Hartford Public School system has expanded and is now included in initial planning for new facilities and is a critical element of renovation.
North Haven Public Schools, North Haven, Conn.
North Haven Public Schools used the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to address IAQ issues, high rates of absenteeism and a tarnished public image due to mold problems. After completing walkthrough inspections, the district found that most of the IAQ issues could be addressed through low-impact measures, such as cleaning or equipment calibration. To improve communication on IAQ management, findings from the inspections are immediately reported to parent-teacher organizations. District officials have also appeared on local access television to explain their involvement with IAQ management.
Norwich Public Schools, Norwich, Conn.
Norwich Public Schools utilizes the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to address and resolve IAQ issues. The district conducts monthly IAQ team meetings and offers trainings on the IAQ Tools for Schools checklists and guides for teachers, staff, custodians and maintenance personnel. The director of facilities works with the local health department, fire department, police department, department of public works, Yale University and the University of Connecticut to implement and enhance the school's IAQ management plan. Faculty members have expressed great appreciation for noticeable improvements to the classroom environment, particularly increased airflow and cleanliness.
Philip Apruzzese, Connecticut Education Association, Hartford, Conn.
Contact: Phil Apruzzese, email@example.com
To improve IAQ in Connecticut schools, Phil Apruzzese used his marketing savvy and commitment to student performance and staff retention to make it a top priority. Phil organized two well-attended conferences that raised public awareness of IAQ, spoke at public hearings and lobbied key officials. His advocacy led to state requirements to identify and correct environmental problems in existing buildings and monitor for respiratory illnesses. Phil has made it his mission to provide healthy learning and working environments in Connecticut schools, earning the gratitude of parents, administrators, students and teachers.
Ridgefield Public Schools, Ridgefield, Conn.
A number of prompts — including mold found on carpeting, a series of renovation and construction projects, and environmental legislation — gave Ridgefield Public Schools incentive to implement IAQ Tools for Schools in 2003. The district immediately hired an IAQ Coordinator as well as two HVAC mechanics. Each school then established an IAQ team, with those teams were trained by the state Department of Health. If an IAQ incident occurs, teams react promptly, using an electronic work order system and while working closely with the IAQ Coordinator. Since the program's implementation, the district has noticeably cleaner and drier buildings, fewer teacher and staff health issues, fewer student visits to the school nurse for breathing difficulties — and a decrease in absenteeism each year.
Westport Public Schools, Westport, Conn.
Contact: Elliott Landon and JoAnne Duncan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Westport Public Schools used the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to develop their very own IAQ management program to combat a mold crisis. The program was supported by immediate buy-in from the school administration that recognized the short and long-term return on investment. Administrative support led to putting procedures in place for IAQ management, including standard cleaning; heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance; and IAQ incident checklists. Along with the director of facilities, a full-time IAQ coordinator position is now dedicated to ensuring that IAQ is a priority within the district. The coordinator ensures the district is systematic in all its IAQ management practices, including regular HVAC filter changes, scheduling the bi-annual walkthroughs of all the schools, and promoting the use of the online computer work order system in conjunction with consistent record keeping. Westport has institutionalized its IAQ management program by putting a strong emphasis on continuous education for staff and effective internal and external communication of its IAQ policies through regular newsletters and emails.
Contact your Regional representative to find an IAQ Champion in your state.
Boston Urban Asthma Coalition, Dorchester, Mass.
Contact: Laurita Kaigler-Crawlle, email@example.com
The Boston Urban Asthma Coalition, in collaboration with the Healthy Schools Taskforce (HST), has successfully advocated for asthma-friendly schools and environmental policies in Boston Public Schools. With a multi-pronged effort and strong asthma management leadership role in Boston, the coalition has advised environmental committees in 22 schools through a city-wide "wellness" initiative resulting in increased awareness about school building conditions that affect asthma, health and learning.
Parent leaders and school union representatives are involved with the coalition. They provide routine communication and feedback about the effectiveness of HST policies and best practices. Additionally, they educate city officials about asthma and the need to repair school buildings to create healthy learning environments free of pests, clutter, leaks and other IAQ issues that put students and staff at risk.
Chicopee Public Schools, Chicopee, Mass.
Contact: Ronald Simard, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chicopee Public School District was the one of the first districts in the nation to equip all of its buildings with an IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit. Additionally, the district created an IAQ Team that represented a cross-section of the district, including trade union representatives, a teacher, nurse and parent. It established short-term solutions to IAQ problems and long-term practices resulting in better communication between teachers and custodial and maintenance personnel. Chicopee continues to tailor the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit to each school in the district and shares its experiences with other districts.
Sharon Public Schools, Sharon, Mass.
Contact: Patricia Terrell, Pterrell@attbi.com
Sharon Public Schools used the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to identify IAQ problems by distributing questionnaires, map problem areas and collect building data. After reviewing this information, Sharon Public Schools was able to remove hazardous chemicals, improve the ventilation system, replace water-damaged tiles and purchase several HEPA filter vacuum cleaners. To better track IAQ issues, the district created a database that staff could use to report their IAQ-related questions and complaints. The district also expanded communication efforts by meeting with the school committee to provide IAQ updates and by discussing its participation and successes using the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance with other school districts.
Westborough Public Schools, Westborough, Mass.
Contact: Dr. Les Olsen, email@example.com
Since implementing the Tools for Schools guidance and creating clear and open communication channels, Westborough Public Schools have seen significant improvements in student and staff health. The assistant superintendent became the IAQ coordinator overseeing maintenance and compilation, prioritization, and distribution of a list of IAQ repairs. Additionally, the IAQ committee was renamed the "facilities committee" to reflect the integrated nature of IAQ and facility maintenance. Open meetings are held at the various schools in the district three times a year. At the school level, all teachers complete an IAQ checklist for their classrooms in the fall and spring. In the spring, teachers receive a copy of the previously submitted checklist so they can note any changes without having to completely reassess the room.
After years of complaints from school staff about chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, and rising asthma cases, Little Harbour School turned to IAQ Tools for Schools guidance to address the problems and find solutions. Its IAQ committee included members from across the school community and outside experts. Little Harbour has identified its ventilation problems and set short-term and long-term goals, steadily improving IAQ and winning people's confidence. The school nurse's office reported that student visits for headaches and stomach aches were down by at least 15 percent, and school staff reported fewer bronchitis cases.
Nashua School District, Nashua, N.H.
Contact: Jeanette Kotopoulis, firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the early 1990s, school staff in Nashua School District had reported the smell of musty, stale air, which was the result of poor ventilation and leaky roofs. With the help of the IAQ Tools for Schools guidance, the district introduced yearly inspections of all facilities, set new standards for building maintenance, and gave janitors better equipment and training for using chemicals. Nashua continues to be innovative, by adapting the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit to the needs of individual schools. Nashua also shares its expertise with other school districts by hosting training sessions and conference, inviting other local districts to learn from their IAQ management experiences.
Contact your Regional representative to find an IAQ Champion in your state.
Burlington School District, Burlington, Vt.
Contact: Betsy Liley, Bliley@bsdvt.org
Burlington School District overcame a tight budget and aging facilities to become a statewide leader and mentor in promoting good IAQ for students and staff. The district built a cooperative IAQ management team, employed direct communications with vendors, and utilized grants to improve HVAC systems and purchase HEPA vacuum cleaners. Additionally, the district implemented an anti-idling policy and installed a new emergency response system that enables community members to report IAQ concerns and the district to quickly respond and keep detailed tracking records. Since promoting good IAQ for students and staff, the district saw a drop in one school's annual absenteeism rate among asthmatic students from 31 days to two days in just one year.
North Country Union High School, Newport, Vt.
Contact: Mary Scarpa, email@example.com
In 1997, North Country Union High School's school board formed an ad hoc IAQ Committee to address student and staff health complaints — including two lawsuits filed by employees. Using an employee questionnaire, based on materials in the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit, the committee identified trouble spots (e.g., idling delivery trucks that pumped diesel fuel fumes into the building). Most important, the committee recommended a radical upgrade of the entire ventilation system at Union High, to ensure sufficient fresh air in every room. School board members agreed and successfully campaigned for a bond issue and budget that are financing the renovation.