A resource for public officials, advocates and others interested in strengthening state policies
to create healthy school environments that support learning and academic achievement
Over 55 million children and six million adults across the U.S. spend their days in K-12 schools. To give children the best chance for educational success, these school facilities need to be free of environmental problems that impact health and impede learning. Poor environmental conditions can thwart academic progress by making it harder for students to concentrate, causing or exacerbating illness in students and staff, increasing absences and lost work days, and diverting school funds to pay for costly repair and remediation projects. Attention to environmental quality is important not only for promoting wellness and advancing the core educational mission, but also for preserving the financial health of school systems.
Indoor air quality is a key component of school environmental health. A variety of air pollutant sources and building conditions can contribute to poor air quality that adversely affects student and staff health and productivity. Fortunately, information and tools are available to help school districts prevent and effectively correct IAQ problems. The U.S. EPA's Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools resource, along with other EPA resources, highlight cost-effective measures for maintaining healthy schools. The CDC addresses IAQ in schools through its Asthma Control and Coordinated School Health programs, while the U.S. Department of Education includes indoor environmental quality in its Green Ribbon Schools program.
Topics in School Environmental Health shows how states have addressed several key school IAQ issues through their laws and regulations. Many of these topics are especially important for creating asthma-friendly schools, and many can be addressed through low-cost measures.
State Laws on Key School Environmental Health Issues
Click on a topic for a list of selected state laws and regulations, with citations and brief abstracts.
Note: This Overview does necessarily include every state law and regulation on the issues covered. It offers a snapshot of different approaches states have taken, but does not analyze or evaluate the relative merits of state policies.