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Indoor Environments and Green Buildings Policy Resource Center

Profiles of Innovative State Programs:

 

Minnesota Department of Health, Indoor Air Quality Program Model School Indoor Air Quality Management Plan

 

The Indoor Air Quality Program at the Minnesota Department of Health helps school districts throughout the state advance IAQ best management practices and achieve healthy learning environments. The agency has developed a wealth of technical materials, including a Model School IAQ Management Plan that can be adapted by school districts.

Why is this Project Important?

In the U.S., over 55 million children and 8 million adults spend their days in K-12 school buildings. The quality of the air inside schools may be affected by a variety of pollutants and by building conditions such as dampness and inadequate ventilation. A wide range of health consequences are associated with exposure to indoor pollutants—including respiratory symptoms and disease, headaches, and fatigue—and children are particularly susceptible. By addressing IAQ issues comprehensively as part of their ongoing operations and maintenance activities, school districts can help keep students and staff healthier and can advance the core mission of schools—educational excellence and academic achievement. Preventing and fixing IAQ problems can also help districts reap considerable financial benefits, by avoiding the large costs often associated with deferred maintenance and by reducing student and staff absenteeism.

What Materials and Resources Have Been Developed Under the Project?

In Minnesota, school districts that apply for state capital health and safety funds are required to have in place a school board policy that includes provisions for implementing a health and safety program that complies with IAQ best management practices. In collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Health has provided extensive technical assistance and support to help school districts adopt and implement effective, district-specific IAQ Management Plans. A cornerstone of this effort is a comprehensive Model School IAQ Management Plan, which the agency created based on EPA’s widely-used IAQ Tools for Schools program. The Minnesota model plan contains both optional and required elements that address key IAQ issues, and it is structured to be easily modified and adapted by individual school districts.

The Department of Health also has created an IAQ Management Plan Development Package, which includes not only the model IAQ Management Plan, but also numerous supporting model policies, guidance documents, checklists, and forms for school districts to use in creating and implementing their IAQ Management Plan. While these materials were developed specifically for Minnesota school districts, they can be valuable resources for other jurisdictions as well. All materials are available on the Department of Health website.

How Can You Learn More?

Visit the Minnesota Department of Health website.

Contact the agency via email (health.indoorair@state.mn.us) or phone (651-201-4601).