Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit

Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit

Updated: March 2015

Introduction

In Canada we have to do this as citizens, since there is no organized plan here to make it happen. In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency launched the first Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Tools for Schools Action Kit in 1996, and Health Canada soon followed with its northern version for Canadian schools.

Canada only took it that far.

Since then, The US EPA has dedicated staff in each of its nine office centers across the USA whose job is to foster implementation of the Tools for Schools Action Kit in their schools.  Over 50 thousand US schools are reaping benefits from using the Kit, and plans are progressing to include up to 65 thousand schools soon.

Unfortunately, in Canada, there is no central effort to implement the Kit.  New Brunswick and Nova Scotia have had real success through the efforts of the Lung Association, CASLE, and individuals.   You can help make it work.

CASLE’s Streamlined Checklist

The streamlined checklist versions here on CASLE’s website were developed in consultation with local school board staff to fit Nova Scotia school needs. We also use the IAQ Backgrounder and other sections of the original Health Canada Kit.

Download Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit for Canadian Schools (PDF)

Checklists from CASLE include:

  1. Administrative Checklist (PDF)
  2. Classroom Checklist (PDF)
  3. Custodial Checklist (PDF)
  4. Air Handling Checklist (PDF)
  5. Renovation and Repair Checklist DRAFT (PDF) 
  6. Relocatable Classroom Checklist DRAFT (PDF)
  7. Waste Management Checklist DRAFT (PDF)
  8. Design Build Lease Back Checklist DRAFT (PDF)

And we include an Air Handling Log (PDF), an IAQ Incident Report Form (PDF), and a Power Point Talk (PPT) with a mini virtual walk-through to help you get started.

The Kit is designed to be flexible so feel free to edit or change the checklists as you need.

Not just schools can use it, but homes, offices and other buildings can be a good fit.

The Kit is very useful for

  1. preventing indoor air quality (IAQ) problems,
  2. identifying existing IAQ problems, and
  3. has been used to identify deficiencies in newly constructed buildings.

Go to www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/air/tools_school-outils_ecoles/index_e.html  if you would like to use Health Canada’s original checklists.

Implementing the Kit

Health Canada’s Kit also has an implementation plan that will help you set up an effective program.  It helps, for example, to have the support of your principal and the school board. The program needs a “champion” who makes it his or her business to follow through and keep the program running as needed, possibly from year to year.

What works

Different schools have succeeded in using the Kit using different ways.

Some examples:

  • A committee with a program coordinator, principal, custodian, school nurse, parent, student, community members, teacher representative, others.
  • One coordinator who conducts the entire program.
  • Student-run committee as part of a class project
  • Occupational Health and Safety Committee takes it on
  • School Nurse oversees the program
  • Many more.  There are almost as any variations as there are schools using the Kit.

How often should we use the Kit?

We find that using the Kit twice a year, Fall and Spring, works well. If a serious IAQ issue is identified, it is wise to activate the process more often, such as every two months in the affected area, until it is resolved.

Videos, other checklists and useful information

The New Brunswick Lung Association has Healthy School checklists and videos on their website http://www.nb.lung.ca/

CASLE encourages you to make use of their information along with what you find here.

Health Canada’s version is available on line at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/ewh-semt/pubs/air/tools_school-outils_ecoles/index_e.html or by calling (613)954-7612 or email air@hc-sc.gc.ca.

The US EPA’s version is available through the Superintendent of Documents, P.O. Box 371954, Pittsburgh, Penn. 15250-1800. (1-800-438-4318) or at www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/tools4s2.html

Also, the US EPA’s Design Tools for Schools (design and construction of new or renovated schools) is available on the EPA website at www.epa.gov/iaq/schooldesign

Also see Healthy School Design and Construction on CASLE’s website.

Download Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit for Canadian Schools (PDF)

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