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EPA Honors Harford County (Md.) Public Schools for Implementing Outstanding Indoor Air Quality Program

Release Date: 10/27/2003
Contact Information: Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

Donna Heron, 215-814-5113

PHILADELPHIA – Harford County public schools, Bel Air, Md., are among 16 schools and districts selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools 2003 Excellence Award.

This award recognizes exemplary indoor air quality programs and commitment to provide a healthy learning environment for students and staff. Harford County Public Schools were recognized for establishing indoor air quality guidelines for team formation, walkthrough inspections, and reporting of complaints, while allowing for flexibility in meeting the needs of individual schools.

The award was presented Oct. 27, 2003 during the Fourth Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools national symposium in Washington, D.C.

“We are pleased to recognize the Harford County public schools for their efforts in implementing an outstanding and effective indoor air quality program,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Donald S. Welsh. “School officials there have made the health of their students and staff a priority. Their programs can serve as a model for other schools to address indoor air quality and provide a healthy and productive learning environment.”

Harford County Public Schools, which works in partnership with the American Lung Association, has an effective communications plan in place which involves the school community. The plan includes training on indoor air quality and maintenance, and parent notification through newsletters, and cable access programming.

In 1995, the EPA developed the voluntary Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools kit and Program in response to government studies highlighting the deteriorating conditions of the nation’s schools and the alarming rise in asthma cases, particularly among school and preschool age children. Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year. Today, one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma. The Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools kit is a flexible, comprehensive resource designed to help school staff identify, resolve, and prevent indoor air quality problems and is available to schools at no cost. Currently, an estimated 10,000 schools and school districts across the country are utilizing the program.

Approximately 550 school representatives, health specialists, technical and environmental experts, federal, state, and local government personnel, and non-profit organizations participated in the 2003 symposium. Participants discussed the basic indoor air quality problems found in schools as well as indoor air quality litigation, new school design, operations and maintenance, sustainability and school preparedness in the event of a terrorist threat.

For more information about the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program, visit