Indoor Air Quality

INDOOR AIR QUALITY (IAQ)

Maintaining healthy indoor air quality is necessary to provide the best learning environment for educating students. That is why Sealy ISD's maintenance department has adapted the EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program. The benefit of taking a proactive approach includes:

  • Improvement in student, teacher and staff comfort
  • A reduction in indoor air quality complaints
  • A decrease in absenteeism
  • Reduction in clinic visits for asthma and asthma treatments
  • Improvement in student and teacher performance

HOW MAINTENANCE IS WORKING TO MAINTAIN HEALTHY FACILITIES

  1. PREVENTATIVE MAINTENANCE OF HVAC EQUIPMENT AND FILTERS
  2. MOISTURE INSPECTION AND CONTROL THROUGH BUILDING DEHUMIDIFICATION &SEALING OF THE BUILDING ENVELOPE
  3. EFFECTIVE INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT (IPM) TO CONTROL PEST
  4. EFFECTIVE BUILDING CLEANING AND SANITIZING PROTOCOLS
  5. SMART INVENTORY CONTROL THAT REDUCES FOREIGN CONTAMINANTS FROM ENTERING THE BUILDING
  6. SAFELY STORING CHEMICALS IN VENTILATED SPACES OR LIMITING POLLUTANT CAUSING EQUIPMENT
  7. USING BUILDING AUTOMATION AND CONDUCTING ROUTINE IAQ INSPECTIONS

ACTIONS STAFF AND STUDENTS CAN TAKE TO IMPROVE (IAQ) 

One of the tools available in IAQ Management is Communication. Staff and students can report Most air quality problems are preventable by school staff through simple and inexpensive measures. The following table identifies common causes of indoor air pollution and how to take corrective measures.

 Common Problem  Affect on (IAQ)  Best Practice Solutions
 FOOD - improperly stored
  • Encourages pest habitation
  • Store in sealable plastic containers
 Personal refrigerators / microwaves
  • Encourage pest habitation
  • Can cause smells
  • Source of mold/mildew
  • Clean regularly
  • Control/eliminate food debris
 Chemicals - including scents
  • Can cause allergic reactions
  • Aerosols can negatively affect others
  • Usage and storage in schools is regulated
  • Use only District approved chemicals
  • Obtain cleaning supplies from custodial
 Fabrics & Rugs
  • Harbor dust mites & lice
  • Accumulate dirt, dust, bacteria that can cause allergies, and respiratory problems
  • Clean on a routine basis
  • Select alternatives whenever possible
 Decorations - Hanging & 3D
  • Accumulate dust and allergens
  • considered fire hazards if combustible
  • Clean on a routine basis
  • Do not hang over doors, desk, or egress pathways
 Clutter
  • Inhibits good housekeeping accumulating dust, dirt, bacteria
  • Encourages pest habitation
  • Negatively affects school appearance
  • Keep areas neat & organized
  • Clean routinely
 Cardboard
  • Common pathway for cockroaches into buildings
  • Encourages pest habitation
  • Fire Hazard - combustible
  • Remove unnecessary cardboard from buildings as soon as possible
  • Use plastic bins or crates instead of cardboard
  • Never use cardboard for storage in food areas
 Open Windows & Doors
  • Pathway for pest & allergens
  • Pathway for unfiltered air
  • Pathway for unconditioned humid air
  • Keep exterior doors closed if not in use
  • Keep exterior windows closed
 Standing water and leaks
  • Encourages mold & mildew
  • Encourages pest habitation
  • Presents fall hazard
  • Keep work areas clean and dry
  • Report water intrusion
 Dusty air vents
  • Source of allergens
  • May be indicator of other mechanical issues
  • Report to custodial
  • If becomes dirty quickly after cleaning report to maintenance
 Maintenance & custodial activities
  • Fumes from paints, cleaners, and floor wax can be an irritant
  • Dust from sanding, especially gypsum is hazardous
  • Limit use of chemicals to times when space is vacant
  • Use auxiliary fans for improved circulation
  • When sanding catch dust with shop vac
 Emissions from equipment
  • Lab experiments
  • Exhaust from vacuum cleaners
  • Exhaust from floor machines
  • Ensure lab fans are on and working properly
  • Use HEPA filters in vacuum cleaners, or limit activity around staff and students
  • Limit use of floor machine till staff and students have left
 Indoor Plants
  • Can be source of mold & mildew
  • Can be source of classroom odors
  • Can encourage pest habitation
  • Keep plants in water tight container
  • Don't over water
  • Remove dead plants immediately

 

COMMUNICATION IS AN EFFECTIVE TOOL IN IAQ MANAGEMENT

Sharing concerns and reporting strange odors, stains on floors, walls, or ceilings is an effective and important part of maintaining a healthy building environment. Other not so obvious issues that should be reported to maintenance or the campus nurse include the acute short-term symptoms that may be similar to those associated with colds, allergies, fatigue, or the flu. If you have a potential IAQ problem in your classroom or at your campus report it to maintenance immediately so it can be investigated.

 

Additional information about Tools available for Schools at www.epa.gov/iaq/schools.

Technical Solutions to Common IAQ Issues in Schools

 

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