IAQ Actions for Teachers and Other Staff
Every member of the school community plays a role in monitoring and improving Indoor air quality (IAQ) in your school. By becoming IAQ-conscious and taking some simple actions, you can make a real impact on the health and productivity of all members of the school. Listed below are some simple actions that can make an immediate difference.
*Adapted from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s "Actions to Improve Indoor Air Quality" EPA 402-F-99-008.
Teachers impact IAQ through their behaviors and knowledge of the classrooms where they teach. Teachers should work cooperatively with facility operators to control sources of indoor air pollutants and ensure adequate ventilation.
- block air supply or return ducts
- place heavy objects on unit ventilators (these are air delivery devices that can be adjust in the classroom)
- cover up air return grilles in doors
- place refrigerators or computers too close to thermostats
- arrange furniture in a way that makes cleaning difficult
- keep a couple of inches between walls and furnishings, to prevent humidity build-up
- talk to your facility operator before:
- adjusting the thermostats (this may affect temperature elsewhere)
- turning off unit ventilators because you are too hot or cold (this may cut-off fresh air delivery)
- Report spills and water leaks for immediate clean up (water allows mold to grow).
- Talk to your facility operator before trying to clean up more than a couple of cups of spilled liquids (the fluid can seep under carpets and into floors)
- Limit the amount of drinking and eating in the classroom.
- Make sure food and liquids are stored in tightly sealed containers, to prevent pests from multiplying.
- Keep your classroom free of dust accumulating materials, such as fabrics and stacks of papers.
- Minimize clutter, which can be home for pests.
- Learn about your district’s specific IAQ policies and procedures by reading the IAQ Management Plan.
- Learn about your students’ sensitivities to indoor air contaminants, to see if there are sources (such as pets, chalk dust, air fresheners) in the classroom that can be better controlled or removed.
- Report your IAQ concerns to the IAQ Coordinator or the Health and Safety Coordinator, and request to fill an IAQ Concern Reporting Form, if available.
- Fill out surveys such as “Tools For Schools Checklists” that your administration may distribute to routinely collect information (this is not a complaint form—it is a general assessment form).
- Consider the potential for allergens or irritants that may be released from personal belongings that you bring to the classroom. Examples include animals, plants, upholstered furniture, carpets, chemicals, fragrances, stuffed toys, pillows, ozone generating air cleaners, and humidifiers. People with allergies, asthma, and other sensitivities may be affected by the particles or gases released from these things.
- Follow your district’s policies regarding the introduction of personal belongings and instructional tools to the classroom.
Volunteer to be on the IAQ or Health and Safety Team
- By volunteering to be on the IAQ or Health and Safety Team, you can be involved in some of the decision-making that impacts IAQ in your buildings.