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Profiles of Innovative State Programs

 

Indiana Department of Health,

Environmental Public Health Division

 Guidance on Best Practices for Managing IAQ in Schools

 

Indiana’s health code requires the state Department of Health to adopt rules establishing a school IAQ inspection, evaluation, and parent/employee notification program. The Department’s rules implementing the law incorporate IAQ criteria that schools must meet and that are reviewed during state inspections.  These criteria address a variety of important IAQ issues, including: mold; other allergens/irritants; animals; ventilation rates and HVAC maintenance; and vehicle idling. The code also requires the Department to develop guidance for schools on best practices for managing IAQ in schools.

Why is this Program Important?

Across the U.S., about 55 million children attend preK-12 schools, and millions of adults work in those schools. The quality of the air inside school buildings may be affected by air pollutants and by building conditions such as dampness and inadequate ventilation.  A wide range of health consequences are associated with exposure to indoor pollutants (e.g., respiratory symptoms and disease, headaches, fatigue), and indoor environmental conditions can affect school performance.  Preventing and fixing IAQ problems can help school districts and other employers reap financial benefits by reducing absenteeism and avoiding the large costs often associated with deferred maintenance.

What Materials Have Been Developed Under the Program?

To assist schools in meeting the requirement of the rules, the Department of Health has created several short, best practice guidance documents on a variety of topics:

  • Animals in Schools
  • Chemicals in Schools
  • Housekeeping (Asthma/Allergens)
  • HVAC
  • School IAQ Coordinators
  • Indoor Pool Irritants
  • Mercury Spills
  • Pesticides in Schools
  • Vehicle Idling

On some topics, where the state rule requires schools to develop a written policy, the guidance documents provide an example policy.

How Can You Learn More?

Visit the Indiana Department of Health’s IAQ Best Practices for Schools web page to view the guidance documents, or the Department’s general IAQ web page for links to the state law and regulation.

Contact the agency via email (rdclark@isdh.in.gov)or phone (317-351-7190).