Tools for Schools program provides simple, low-cost strategies to improve air quality
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Connecticut Department of Public Health
April 8, 2014 Contact: William Gerrish
Hartford – State and federal officials today recognized the Region 5 school district in Woodbridge at a ceremony at the Amity High School for their leadership in addressing school indoor environmental quality issues.
Representatives from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Connecticut Department of Public Health addressed actions the district took to improve their school environment by using the EPA’s Tools for Schools (TfS) program. A special recognition award was also presented to John Laudano, sanitarian from the Quinnipiack Valley Health District for his support to the schools in the implementation of TfS.
The EPA Tools for Schools program is a team-based strategy to improving indoor air quality in school buildings. A building-based team of administrators, teachers, maintenance staff, parents, and others investigates and prioritizes indoor air hazards to develop short and long-term strategies to solve IEQ problems.
Officials said that the Amity Region 5 School District has shown leadership in Connecticut by encouraging and assisting other districts to adopt the Tools for Schools program. Schools that have implemented TfS have seen dramatic decreases in asthma-related health office visits.
“Unhealthy school environments can affect attendance, concentration and performance, as well as lead to costly, time-consuming cleanup and remediation activities for schools,” said DPH Tools for Schools coordinator Kenny Foscue. “Addressing school indoor environmental quality issues is an important part of the overall strategy to reduce the impact of asthma in our state. Reducing asthma triggers in schools is part of a coordinated asthma management program.”
Tools for Schools provides materials and guidance at no-cost to help schools implement an indoor air quality management program. This simple, inexpensive, team-oriented program focuses on many low-cost or no-cost solutions that address factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality, such as air pollutants or poor ventilation.
Indoor actions by schools in Connecticut include using hard surface flooring to make it easier to clean; removing water-damaged carpeting; using certified green cleaning products to reduce or eliminate toxic chemicals, and eliminating air fresheners and room deodorizers, and preventing blocked ventilation systems to increase fresh air and safe energy.
For information about the Tools for Schools Program and how to have it implemented in your school, go to www.ct.gov/dph/schools or call (860) 509-7740.