How To Improve Indoor Air Quality in Schools; Lung Association Launches Critical Guide to Protect Kids

With children back in school for in-person learning, it’s important for schools to be vigilant about their indoor air quality, and one study shows that 40% of schools need to update or replace their ventilation systems. Today, the American Lung Association, in partnership with Airthings and Carrier Colorado, launched a “How To” guide for schools to improve their indoor air quality.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, children spend on average more than 1,000 hours in school every year. Given the amount of time spent in school, indoor air quality can significantly impact children. Air pollution in the classroom, dirty air filters and radon can affect how children learn and harm their growing lungs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the essential elements for safe operations include maintaining healthy facilities, including adequate ventilation for good indoor air quality.

“Schools often face special challenges in providing healthy indoor air for the children, staff and faculty. For example, schools typically have four times as many people indoors as an office building with the same floor space,” said Albert Rizzo, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for the American Lung Association. “Children across the country returned to in-person learning earlier this fall, so it’s important for school administrators to be proactive about their facility’s air quality.”

Many schools don’t have the funding for the necessary improvements. In fact, a 2020 study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office shows 40% of schools need to update or replace their ventilation systems. Fortunately, there is now funding available to help schools improve their facilities. Through the COVID-19 Economic Relief, also known as the CARES Act, and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSA), the Federal government has approved $176 billion in emergency COVID relief aid for K–12 schools, and facility-related expenditures are among the allowable uses for these funds.

The Lung Association’s “How To” guide will include information about indoor air quality, recommendations on how to assess indoor air quality, strategies to improve indoor air quality, and more.

Teachers, school administrators and other officials can access this guide for free at Lung.org/IAQ-in-Schools.

For more information, contact:

Jill Dale
312-940-7001
[email protected]

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