Indoor air quality in schools is a significant concern. Children are considered more susceptible to air pollutants because they breathe a greater volume of air in relation to their body weight. They also spend more time in indoor environments such as classrooms and daycare facilities where they are in close proximity to other people.
Research has shown that infectious pathogens such as the coronavirus are more likely to survive and get transmitted through the air in indoor environments where there is high humidity and reduced ventilation. There is a strong correlation between the concentrations of the pollutants and onset or aggravation of health problems in schoolchildren – from headaches to asthma, cancer, and even developmental delays. Studies have also associated poor indoor air quality with a decrease in students’ ability to perform specific mental tasks requiring concentration and memory. Discomfort can cause irritability and other behavioral problems.
School administrators have the responsibility to provide a favorable learning environment for students, productivity and wellbeing for teachers and staff, and a sense of comfort and health for all. Parents expect the schools to employ utmost care and protection for their children while they are at school. Failure to ensure good indoor air quality not only impacts on student and staff absenteeism, decreased learning performance but also serious complaints and legal issues for the school.
Maintaining good indoor air quality starts with knowing the air that your students and staff are breathing in. Take control by understanding the different pollutants and their sources so you can prioritize which issues to address and create a plan to eliminate the risks for your students and staff. Insights from real-time monitoring and identification of air quality issues can be shared with parents and staff to ease their worries and give them confidence that the school is a safe place for their children.
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