EPA Supports Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools During COVID-19 Pandemic
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Program remains fully committed to our stakeholders who are working to ensure that schools are healthy places to work and learn, whether school is in session or not. Below is a set of health and safety resources to consult as you respond to COVID-19 in your facilities:
Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website for the most recent updates related to COVID-19 and schools:
- Guidance for Schools and Child Care Programs
- Cleaning and Disinfecting Your Facility
- Interim Guidance for Administrators of US K-12 Schools and Child Care Programs
Helpful Tips for Maintaining Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools:
Whether your school is open or closed, indoor air quality is still an important part of maintaining a healthy indoor environment in schools. Employ the actions and strategies in the IAQ Tools for Schools and IAQ Tools for Schools Preventive Maintenance documents, action plans, and checklists. In these documents you’ll find tips on:
Routine HVAC Systems Maintenance:
- Ensure school HVAC systems are operating properly, with outdoor ventilation air maintained at or above design minimum values. Determine whether HVAC systems comply with the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Standard 62.1 ventilation requirementsExitat the system level and in the breathing zones of all occupied spaces.
- Employ filtration and gas-phase air cleaning strategies to further improve IAQ, in conjunction with source control strategies and maintaining minimum ventilation rates. Change filters regularly and ensure condensate pans are draining.
Communications: Develop a communications plan with a clear process for addressing occupant concerns. Share your IAQ preventive maintenance program’s intent, activities, results, and next steps with your entire school community.
EPA Coronavirus Guidance:
Disinfectant Products and Procedures: As your custodial and facilities staffs are ramping up cleaning and disinfecting protocols in response to COVID-19, keep these guidance principles in mind to ensure occupant safety:
- Verify that your disinfectant product is on EPA’s list of disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.
- Train cleaning/maintenance staff on cleaning products, protocols and procedures. Always read and follow product labels.
- CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfection for community facilities emphasizes extra focus on high touch surfaces, common areas and shared electronic equipment.
- ASHRAE has developed proactive guidanceExitto help address COVID-19 concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems.
Train and Educate Staff Members:
Watch the IAQ Tools for Schools Webinars. These webinars provide school district staff with the knowledge needed to start, improve or sustain an IAQ management program within their school or school district. View the web-based trainings, including the Master Class webinars and Knowledge-to-Action webinars.