Healthy School Facility Environments

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Facility Operations and Maintenance

Facility Operations and MaintenanceUnlike most other workplaces, schools face the dual challenges of maintaining children's safety while also managing public funding responsibly. Schools must deal with other special issues, such as:

  • High occupant densities, with the typical school having about four times as many occupants as office buildings for the same amount of floor space
  • Tight budgets, with maintenance often receiving the largest cuts when budgets are reduced
  • A large number of heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning systems, placing an added strain on maintenance staff
  • Differing operation and maintenance requirements for each new building addition or other new occupied space
  • The use of rooms, portable classrooms, or buildings that were not originally designed to serve the unique needs of schools.

A good maintenance program can both improve a school's appearance and help prevent exposures to any hazardous substances present in the school. Cleaning also reduces common dust, which contains substances that can trigger asthma in sensitive children. Proper cleaning and maintenance are vital to a healthy school.

KEY RESOURCES FOR:

Parents and Students

Kids Learn Better in a Clean and Healthy School, "Top Ten Lists" for teachers, staff, students; administrators; and maintenance staff

National Education Association, Take a Deep Breath and Thank Your Custodian, 2004, Tips and Tools for Improving IAQ in Schools. This easy-to-follow document focuses on custodian "tips and tools" for minimizing staff and student exposure to common indoor air hazards. It also outlines steps to get administrators to act on indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, from drafting a detailed action plan to building a local health and safety committee.

School Asthma Coalition a Model of Team Effectiveness

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School Staff

Kids Learn Better in a Clean and Healthy School, "Top Ten Lists" for teachers, staff, students; administrators; and maintenance staff

National Education Association, Take a Deep Breath and Thank Your Custodian, 2004, Tips and Tools for Improving IAQ in Schools. This easy-to-follow document focuses on custodian "tips and tools" for minimizing staff and student exposure to common indoor air hazards. It also outlines steps to get administrators to act on indoor air quality (IAQ) issues, from drafting a detailed action plan to building a local health and safety committee.

Northeast-CHPS Operations and Maintenance Guide 2010

School Asthma Coalition a Model of Team Effectiveness

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School Administrators

California Collaborative for High Performance Schools Best Practices Manual, Volume IV-Maintenance & Operations

Kids Learn Better in a Clean and Healthy School, "Top Ten Lists" for teachers, staff, students; administrators; and maintenance staff

Northeast-CHPS Operations and Maintenance Guide 2010

PCBs in School Fluorescent Lights [pdf 111k]

PCBs in School Fluorescent Lights: NJ Department of Education memorandum [pdf 76k]

School Asthma Coalition a Model of Team Effectiveness

USEPA NJDEP K-12 Schools Energy Efficiency/PCBs Training Webinars

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Architects and Engineers

California Collaborative for High Performance Schools Best Practices Manual, Volume IV-Maintenance & Operations

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Other Resources

  1. Cleaning
    1. EPA Home Page on School Cleaning
    2. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Restroom Maintenance
    3. School Cleaning, Maintenance Practices and Floor Care. Resource List. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities
  2. Custodial Staffing
    1. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Custodial Staffing
  3. Maintenance
    1. California Collaborative for High Performance Schools Best Practices Manual, Volume IV-Maintenance & Operations
    2. EPA Home Page on Integrated Pest Management in Schools
    3. EPA Home Page on Recycling
    4. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Grounds Maintenance
    5. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Preventive Maintenance of School Buildings
    6. National Clearinghouse for Educational Facilities, Resource List on Roof Maintenance and Repair
  4. Mercury Vapor Lamps
    1. DEP Mercury Vapor Lamps Page
    2. Letter from DEP to School Districts
    3. Letter from DCA to Code Officials
    4. Damaged Metal Halide “R” Bulbs Can Damage Eyes and Skin, 2008, NJEA

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