Poor indoor air quality (IAQ) can be a major public health concern in schools if preventive measures are not implemented effectively.

According to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Education Research and Improvement, students attending schools with poor indoor air quality score 11 percent lower on standardized tests than those students attending schools in good condition. Indoor air quality can impact a student’s performance in several ways. Asthmatic students who are exposed to poor indoor air quality may experience decreased performance, diminished concentration levels and score consistently lower on standardized tests than those students attending schools with good air quality.

The Division of Environmental Health within DeKalb County Board of Health has incorporated a program from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called “Tools for School” (TfS). This program includes an indoor air quality kit filled with comprehensive materials for schools to address indoor environmental issues. Our goal is to assist DeKalb County School System with the implementation by introducing the recommendation as a preventive guideline. School officials are encouraged to continue the implementation of the TFS program and apply their own IAQ Management Plan by utilizing the EPA TfS kit in order to prevent, address or resolve poor indoor air.

Also, basic indoor air quality presentations are available for staff, custodians and students to learn about asthma triggers and prevention. The session for students is a student led program for asthmatic students. Click here for a form to request an IAQ presentation for your staff or students with asthma or give us a call at 404-508-7900.

Remember the best way to ensure good IAQ in your school is to keep the classroom clutter free so that proper cleaning can be done on a daily basis. Move all furniture, books, papers, rugs and toys that may be blocking air vents. Report any leaks, odors or potential IAQ issues immediately to the TfS team at your school. Immediate action can then be taken to investigate the potential problem. The sooner an issue is addressed, the more likely a larger problem will be prevented. TfS is a team approach; the team includes all building occupants.

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