Healthy School Environments
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Today, more than 55 million children and 3 million adults spend a significant portion of their days in public, tribal and private school buildings across the United States. Many of these buildings are aging and may have environmental conditions that can inhibit learning and pose health risks to students and staff.
Helping communities create and maintain clean, green and healthy schools is a vital part of EPA’s mission to protect children where they live, learn and play.
This Web page is intended to serve as a portal to on-line resources to help school administrators, facility managers, school nurses, teachers, staff, parents, and others address environmental health issues in schools.
One of those resources is “Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments”; a comprehensive, easy-to-use guide that outlines a variety of voluntary, low or no cost steps that communities can take to protect the health of students and staff in their schools.
Designed to compliment other school environmental health resources, the “Sensible Steps” guide contains information about a range of school environmental health topics and the many affordable measures, programs and resources available to help prevent, reduce and resolve common environmental health risks in schools.
The Sensible Steps guide and the Sensible Steps Quick Assessment are available online!
- Sensible Steps to Healthier School Environments (PDF) (26pp, 1.7MB)
- Sensible Steps Quick Assessment Checklist (PDF) (3 pp, 460K)
A limited number of printed copies are also available. Call 303-312-6223 for more information.
While the information is primarily intended to help improve the environment of school facilities, educational resources for students and teachers can also be found through the Healthy School Environments portal. The resources identified have been developed by EPA, other federal agencies, states, local governments and non-governmental organizations. Visitors can browse resources by topic or by geographic area, or search all resources by entering specific keywords into the search box at the top of each page.
On this page:
- Coordinated School Health (CSH) Approach
- Clean, Green and Healthy Tribal School Initiative
- Outreach Materials
Coordinated School Health (CSH) Approach
CSH is a systematic approach to improving the health and well-being of all students so they can fully participate and be successful in school. The process involves bringing together school administrators, teachers, other staff, students, families, and community members to assess health needs; set priorities; and plan, implement, and evaluate all health-related activities. CSH typically integrates health promotion efforts across eight interrelated components that already exist to some extent in most schools. These components include health education, physical education, health services, nutrition services, counseling, psychological and social services, healthy and safe school environments, staff wellness, and family and community involvement. (CDC. School Health Programs: Improving the Health of Our Nation's Youth--At A Glance 2011, Atlanta: CDC; 2011.)
An important component of CSH is that it advocates the use of a team approach to guide programming and facilitate collaboration between the school and the community. At the district level, this group is typically called a school health council, and at the school level, it is typically called a school health team. Ideally, the district school health council includes at least one representative from each of the eight components, and school administrators, parents, students, and community representatives involved in the health and well-being of students, such as a representative from the local health department and the school district's medical consultant. School health teams generally include a site administrator, an identified school health leader, teachers and other staff representing the components, parents, students, and community representatives when appropriate.
In Region 8 the following States are participating in CDC's Coordinated School Health Program: