Healthy School Environments
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Healthy school environments can affect the attendance, concentration and performance of both students and educators. This website presents information on key topics about establishing and enhancing healthy school environments.

Managing Asthma in the School Environment: A guide for school staff on asthma triggers.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This guide offers valuable information for all school staff, especially school nurses, teachers and maintenance staff, on how to identify and control common environmental factors in schools that trigger asthma episodes.

Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Promote a healthy learning environment at your school to reduce absenteeism, improve test scores and enhance student and staff productivity.

Best Practices for Reducing Near-Road Pollution Exposure at Schools
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) created this document to help existing and planned school communities identify strategies for reducing traffic-related pollution exposure at schools located downwind from heavily traveled roadways (such as highways), along corridors with significant truck traffic, or near other sources of significant particulate air pollution sources.  The publication has been updated from a previously released version in 2015.  New sections have been added including air quality monitoring with sensors due to the rapid increase in use and interest on this topic.

Reducing Diesel Emissions from School Buses
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

"EPA offers funding, as appropriated annually by Congress, for projects that reduce emissions from existing diesel engines. EPA also provides information on strategies for reducing emissions from older school buses. One of the easiest ways to reduce school bus emissions and save money is to reduce idling. Another effective method is to replace the oldest school buses in the fleet."

Information about PCBs in Building Materials for School Administrators, Building Owners and Managers
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA is concerned that there is potential widespread use of PCB-containing building materials in schools and other buildings constructed or renovated between about 1950 and 1979. This page provides the Agency’s updated guidance for school administrators and building owners, including information about managing PCBs in building materials to help minimize possible exposures to building occupants.

Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting: A Curriculum for Early Care and Education
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This Green Cleaning, Sanitizing, and Disinfecting Toolkit provides guidance and information to early care and education (ECE) programs so they can better maintain their facilities while also reducing infectious disease.

Toolkit for Safe Chemical Management in K-12 Schools
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA's web-based tool kit helps schools start chemical management programs that will improve their chemical management practices by: removing inappropriate, outdated, unknown and unnecessary chemicals from schools; preventing future chemical mismanagement issues in schools through training, curriculum and policy change, and long-term management solutions; and raising awareness of chemical issues in schools and promoting sustainable solutions.

Protect Your Family from Sources of Lead
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This EPA webpage provides information on how to protect your family from sources of lead, including throughout a child's environment from playgrounds and older homes to drinking water and household products.

School-Specific Resources for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA specifically designed these resources for schools (i.e., preK-12 grade). Included are interactive tools and factsheets to assist with testing your drinking water for lead, taking appropriate corrective actions and communicating program activities to your teachers and parents.

Protecting Children from Lead Exposures
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Since the 1970s, EPA and its state, tribal, and local governmental partners have made progress in reducing children’s lead exposures and lead-related health risks. EPA efforts to reduce lead exposures and prevent lead poisoning include a wide range of activities such as funding for community interventions and outreach, education and training, surveillance, and regulation and enforcement.

New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse
New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse

The New York Climate Change Science Clearinghouse (NYCCSC) is a regional gateway to data and information relevant to climate change adaptation and mitigation across New York State. It provides climate science data and literature and other resources for policy-makers, practitioners, and the public, to support scientifically sound and cost-effective decision making.

The Teacher-Friendly Guide to Climate Change
Paleontological Research Institution

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) created a guide for teachers that covers the basics of climate change science and perspectives on teaching the subject. The focus audience is high school Earth science and environmental science teachers. PRI also includes other toolkits, videos, and workshop information for teachers on this page.

Reproductive and Children`s Environmental Health Expertise
Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units

Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units (PEHSU): There are 10 PEHSUs, each responsible for a different geographical region of the United States. Each PEHSU is based at an academic health institution with experts in pediatrics, allergy/immunology, neurodevelopment, toxicology, occupational and environmental medicine, nursing, reproductive health as well as other specialized areas. The PEHSUs work together to address any reproductive and children’s environmental health issue that affects families and communities, including safer disinfectant use (especially during the COVID-19 pandemic), wildfire smoke, PFAS, lead, pesticides, mold, and many more.

Children`s Environmental Health
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA’s mission is to protect human health and the environment. Children are often more vulnerable to pollutants than adults due to differences in behavior and biology, that can lead to greater exposure and/or unique windows of susceptibility during development. This site offers information about children’s environmental health.

Recording from School Infrastructure and Federal Programs Listening Session
U.S. Department of Education

Audio recording of school infrastructure and federal programs public listening session taken on Aug. 5, 2021.

Ventilation Verification and Optimization in Educational Facilities
UC Davis Energy and Efficiency Institute

A 2020 report by the University of California-Davis Western Cooling Efficiency Center and the Indoor Environment Group of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found over half of new HVAC systems in schools had significant problems within three years of installation, and that the vast majority of classrooms in California continue to fail to meet minimum ventilation rates. This paper presents a proposal for a Ventilation and Energy Efficiency Verification/Repair Program that would prepare schools for reopening during the COVID-19 crisis.

This program includes certifying school facilities as having functioning air ventilation and filtration systems that meet or exceed OSHA and California Energy Commission requirements, and, to the extent feasible, that meet ventilation and filtration recommendations for reopening schools set forth by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), as well as any applicable local and state agency school reopening guidance. The program would also ensure that systems are operating energy efficiently and will identify recommendations for future efficiency and safety upgrades.

How Schools Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Ensure Healthy, Resilient Facilities
Undaunted K12 and Center for Green Schools

In March 2021, President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act, providing additional relief to address the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The ARP provides $122 billion for new Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) Fund awards to State Education Agencies (SEAs), which must allocate 90% of their funding to local educational agencies (LEAs). Two-thirds of the ESSER Fund allocations were made available to SEAs in March, so that they might immediately fund health and safety measures consistent with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance.  

The remaining third will become available after submission of a state application to ED with a plan that describes how ARP ESSER funds will be used to safely return students to in-person instruction, maximize in-person instruction time, operate schools, and meet the needs of students. State consultation with and input from stakeholders and the public is expected be an essential component of the process.  

The one-time nature of these funds makes them an excellent fit for durable investments in facilities that will provide long-term health benefits and financial savings. Undaunted K-12 joined with the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council to publish “Five Guiding Principles: How Schools Can Use American Rescue Plan Funding to Ensure Healthy, Resilient Facilities for Students and Reduce Energy Costs and Emissions.” This new guidance provides useful, actionable information for school districts as they consider how to use these relief funds to meet local needs. The resource identifies examples of school facility improvements as well as curriculum and training that both align with allowed uses and provide long-term benefits.

North American Association for Environmental Education

The hub for environmental education professional development and networking

COVID-19 Handbook
U.S. Department of Education

Consistent implementation of mitigation strategies during all school-related activities is critical for reopening schools -- and keeping them open. To that end, the Department released a COVID-19 Handbook, with implementation guidance, strategies, and considerations for the education community. The handbook is being released in two volumes. The first volume supplements CDC’s operational strategy with practical examples and roadmaps for educators and staff to implement CDC’s recommended safe practices for in-person learning -- archived presentation. Highlights include: • Masking Practices. • Physical Distancing Practices. • Effective Stakeholder Engagement.

Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

CDC’s Operational Strategy for K-12 Schools through Phased Mitigation includes recommendations for–
•    Consistent implementation of a combination of strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in schools, including consistent mask use; maintaining at least 6 feet of distance to the greatest extent possible; handwashing and respiratory etiquette; cleaning and maintaining healthy facilities; and carrying out contact tracing in combination with isolation and quarantine 
•    Recommended steps schools can follow depending on how COVID-19 is spreading in the community   
•    Indicators to reflect the level of COVID-19 in the community    
•    Vaccination for teachers, school staff, and in communities    
•    Testing to identify people infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 to limit transmission and outbreaks

Sustainability Design Standards
Albuquerque Public Schools

The Albuquerque School District has published their green building standards for planning, design and construction, online. The various standards are organized by product categories and each one references sustainability, including one specifically on the LEED V4 program requirements. The Design Standards are available for free in PDF, Microsoft Word, and Zip File formats.

Environmental Justice Program
University of Connecticut

Students at the University of Connecticut developed a website dedicated to learning about and taking action on Environmental Justice. The site provides definitions of what Environmental Justice means, famous examples of injustice and ways anyone can take action to help. This resource can be used to educate yourself or bring the conversation to your classroom.

Sample School Sustainability Policy
New Jersey School Board Association

The New Jersey School Board Association developed various sample sustainability and green initiative policy language. The compilation was put together by the NJSBA based on research from other districts, and is only a list of suggested best practices. These sample policies from nutrition to green cleaning can be edited to reflect your own school/district programs and practices.

Turning the Page: A Behavior Change Toolkit for Reducing Paper Use
AASHE & Root Solutions

The concepts, concrete examples, and tools in this guide will empower practitioners to more effectively target paper consumption behaviors at their institutions. Although this guide focuses on higher education institutions, the advice and examples provided can be applied by any organization looking to foster more sustainable behaviors. Our hope is that this guide gives you the background, inspiration, and confidence to ideate and implement the kinds of evidence-based behavior campaigns that can result in transformational impact at your organization.

Outdoor Learning Quick Reference Guide
Nature Based Education Consortium

This short guide highlights the importance of outdoor learning and provides great links to other valuable outdoor education resources. While the school stories and guidance included here is specific to implementing outdoor learning programs at schools in Maine, the resource and ideas can translate to any school setting.

Clean Energy Resolution 2020
Salt Lake City School District

In June 2020, the School Board at Salt Lake City School District signed a 100% clean energy resolution, seeking to create healthier, more environmentally sustainable schools, which includes the following goals:

1. to use 100 percent clean, renewable energy in its electricity sector by 2030; and

2. to meet 100% of all district operations energy needs with carbon neutral energy by 2040.