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Free EPA Software Tool Will Help Schools Protect Kids' Learning Environment
Release Date: 01/13/2006
Contact Information: John Millett, (202) 564-4355 / email@example.com
(Washington, D.C.-Jan. 13, 2006) EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson today announced the release of a new tool to help schools identify and prevent health, safety and environmental problems before they arise, building on the agency's voluntary school indoor air quality program. Using a holistic approach to school health, EPA's new Healthy School Environments Assessment Tool (HealthySEAT) is a free software tool that school districts can customize to assess potential issues such as mold, asbestos and lead paint, then evaluate and manage information on conditions at each school.
"In elementary school, we learned that when we work alone, we can only accomplish so much; real success comes through teamwork, sharing and cooperation," said Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "EPA is working with schools across the country to provide clean, healthy learning environments for the leaders of tomorrow."
The announcement took place at EPA's sixth annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Symposium, with more than 500 school officials from across the country in attendance. The symposium featured an awards ceremony to recognize individuals and schools demonstrating extraordinary commitments to improving indoor air quality for the nation's schoolchildren. Winners are listed below.
Indoor air quality can also impact a student's performance. Students who are exposed to poor indoor air quality experience decreased performance, diminished concentration levels and score consistently lower on standardized tests than those students attending schools with good air quality. According to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Education Research and Improvement, students attending schools with poor indoor air quality score 11 percent lower on standardized tests than those students attending schools in good condition.
Since the creation of the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) program, more than 26,000 schools across the country have adopted IAQ management programs consistent with EPA's guidance. The IAQ TfS program teaches schools how to identify, resolve, and prevent IAQ problems through low and no-cost measures. The program explains IAQ management, facility planning and maintenance, financing, communications, and emergency response. An IAQ Tools for Schools Kit also includes easy-to-use checklists for all school personnel, sample management plans, and a unique indoor air problem-solving wheel.
EPA's annual IAQ Tools for Schools Excellence Awards honor schools and school districts that have exemplary IAQ programs in their schools ranging from designing a new school building free of toxins and other hazards to developing district-wide policies for continuous training and maintenance.
2005 Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Excellence Award Winners Include:
1. Cecil County Public Schools, Cecil County, Md.
2. Hartford Public Schools, Hartford, Conn.
3. Katy Independent School District, Katy, Texas
4. The School Board of Broward County, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
5. Vashon Island School District, Vashon Island, Wash.
6. Wichita Public Schools, Wichita, Kan.
2005 Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Model of Sustained Excellence Award Winner
1. Blue Valley School District #229, Overland Park, Kan.
2005 Special Achievement Award Winners Include:
1. Young Parent Program (A Hydroville Project), Springfield School District, Springfield, Ore.
2. Science Research Club, Beaverton School District, Beaverton, Ore.
2005 Radon in Schools Excellence Award Winner
1. The Town of Andover, Mass.
HealthySEAT is voluntary and helps school districts track all of their environmental, health and safety information in a single database. The program includes a complete checklist of EPA recommendations and regulatory requirements on dozens of health and safety issues.
Schools can download a free copy of HealthySEAT and learn more about the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program and the 2006 National Symposium at: epa.gov/iaq/schools