Sample Indoor and Outdoor Learning Environment Protocols During COVID-19
Boulder Valley School District

This guidance details protocols for both indoor and outdoor learning environments, emphasizing the advantages of outdoor learning, when possible.

Sample Letter to Principals Regarding Use of Outdoor Space during COVID and Beyond
Boulder Valley School District

This sample letter to principals offers resources, planning tools, and references related to using outdoor spaces for learning during COVID-19.

A Systems Approach to Reducing Consumer Food Waste
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Approximately 30 percent of the edible food produced in the United States is wasted and a significant portion of this waste occurs at the consumer level. Despite food’s essential role as a source of nutrients and energy and its emotional and cultural importance, U.S. consumers waste an estimated average of 1 pound of food per person per day at home and in places where they buy and consume food away from home. Many factors contribute to this waste—consumers behaviors are shaped not only by individual and interpersonal factors but also by influences within the food system, such as policies, food marketing and the media. Some food waste is unavoidable, and there is substantial variation in how food waste and its impacts are defined and measured. But there is no doubt that the consequences of food waste are severe: the wasting of food is costly to consumers, depletes natural resources, and degrades the environment. In addition, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has severely strained the U.S. economy and sharply increased food insecurity, it is predicted that food waste will worsen in the short term because of both supply chain disruptions and the closures of food businesses that affect the way people eat and the types of food they can afford.

Race Against Waste Program
New York City Department of Education

The Race Against Waste program is a collaboration between New York City Department of Education Service in Schools (SIS) and the Office of Sustainability to support teams of teachers from middle and high schools in leading students through an investigation of waste in their community and developing a service-learning project that helps their community to reduce and reuse a source of waste.

You can still inspire your students and/or your own children to think sustainably and with a service mindset while they are learning at home. Check out the resources, as well as all of the materials from Race Against Waste, many of which can be used in remote learning.

Green Cleaning Training Video Series
Salt Lake City Unified School District

Salt Lake City School District green cleaning custodial training videos.

Guidance for K-12 Education on Responding to COVID-19
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

An ad hoc committee will provide states and districts with guidance about whether and how to safely reopen schools in the 2020-2021 school year. The committee will write a short letter report drawing on evidence from epidemiology, public health, and the social and behavioral sciences. The report will provide guidance on the health-related issues for safely reopening schools and the practices that should be implemented in order to maintain and monitor the health of staff and students. The report will address questions that have emerged from the planning efforts of state and district officials which are currently underway.

Road Map for Return: K-12 Education
Perkins & Will

We aim to help schools and their communities successfully navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Holistic health and well-being are our top priority. This site provides a compendium of strategies and resources for a safer return to school. They are applicable before reopening and throughout the academic year, and address the current health crisis as well as future challenges.

Planning for the Next Normal at School
Kaiser Permanente

As schools and districts across the nation prepare for the new school year in the coming weeks, they are likely to face even greater strain as they seek to meet the academic and health needs of students, staff, and teachers with already limited resources.

To assist schools in proactively addressing the health needs of the school community, a number of nationally recognized and trusted school health organizations have come together to develop a playbook for when learning starts again — “Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, and families safe and healthy.” This guide aims to equip school and district leaders with specific, evidence-informed guidance and operating procedures for keeping school communities mentally and physically safe as we shape a new approach to learning. Each chapter of the playbook will include five “starter plays” that provide practical strategies and actionable steps improving health in both in-person and virtual school environments.

PK-12 Reopening Workbook
National Council on School Facilities

A detailed list of over 100 tasks organized according to achieving public health in schools objectives, that can be modified for individual state, district or school application.

Remote Learning Resources
PBL Works

During these unprecedented times and school closures, how can a PBL teacher keep students connected and engaged, so a project is just as powerful as what would be expected in their face-to-face classroom?

We created this resource to provide a host of ideas, examples, and tools that can help you answer this question.

Nature Time Adventure Videos
Beyond the Ferns

I'm Emily CW or Nature Emily, a naturalist and nature-based early childhood educator in New Hampshire. With recent school closures due to COVID-19 I started this channel to share outdoor exploration ideas, nature songs and games, and other inspiration for families learning from home. I hope that families and caregivers can use these activities as inspiration to kick start some super fun adventures. While the activities I share are great ways to get outside and explore, remember that there is no substitute for learning through play. So, get out there and have some fun!

Cleaning and Disinfection Guidance for Schools
New York State Department of Health

To help prevent spread of COVID-19, schools should continue to educate students, faculty and staff about proper hand and respiratory hygiene.

Classroom Cleaning Tips for Teachers
Washington State Department of Health

School custodial staff is responsible for cleaning schools. Some teachers choose to do additional cleaning. Here is how to ensure those efforts tackle dirt and germs safely and effectively.

Safer Choice & COVID-19 Compliant Product List
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

EPA has released a list of registered antimicrobial products for use against COVID-19 along with information on how to check products against registration numbers.

Coronavirus Response Resources from ASHRAE and Others

Resources from ASHRAE and others on buildings, filtration/ disinfection, transportation, and reopening.

COVID Guidance for Building Managers
U.S. Department of Energy

Dealing with COVID-19 presents an unprecedented scenario for building owners, plant managers, and employees. As we all adjust to these changing demands, the following resources from Better Buildings partners, affiliates, and other organizations may prove useful.

What School Nutrition Professionals Need to Know about COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

As a school nutrition professional, how can I protect myself and slow the spread?
For school nutrition professionals and volunteers working in meal preparation and/or distribution at a school/school district site or other public settings, potential sources of exposure include close contact with co-workers, students, and families with COVID-19 and touching your nose, mouth, or eyes after touching contaminated surfaces or handling items that others infected with COVID-19 have touched. Currently there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 is spread through food.

Reusables and Sanitation Toolkit
Post-Landfill Action Network

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have received dozens of inquiries from campus sustainability staff looking for guidance on how to work with campus dining facilities that are considering switching to disposable (instead of reusable) dishes and take out containers. Staff are also concerned about the future of reuse programs for items like furniture and electronics. We are providing this document as general guidance for how to have necessary conversations with campus stakeholders. Specific resources are cited from the most reliable and widely trusted resources such as the CDC, FDA, and scientific journal publications.

Bringing Outdoor Learning Home
Green Schoolyards America

This is the first in a series of blogs from Green Schoolyards America, highlighting outdoor activities that are well-suited to our current social distancing situation.

Best Practices for Community Gardens During COVID-19
Cultivating Success

Recorded webinar with Stephanie Smith, Washington State University

3D Printer School Safety: A Guide for Supporting Indoor Air Quality and Human Health
Chemical Insights

Thanks to the development of affordable, compact, and user-friendly 3D printers, consumer use is booming, particularly in classrooms. 3D printers have become a valuable tool in K-12 classrooms because they inspire creativity and problem-solving by bringing students’ ideas and designs to life. But, as with so many new technologies, there are also unintended safety consequences to consider. Research conducted by Chemical Insights (an Institute of Underwriters Laboratories), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to scientific research, along with researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), found that 3D printers emit ultrafine particles (UFPs) and VOCs during operation. This toolkit will walk you through the research processes, key findings, and health consequences. It also presents best practices for mitigating emissions and maintaining safe and healthy school indoor environments.

Whole School Sustainability Framework
Institute for the Built Environment and Center for Green Schools

The framework is founded on the imperative that in order to be successful, sustainability requires a whole-system approach. A Whole-School Sustainability approach requires individuals from across an organization to work together—it cannot be accomplished in a silo. This system framework is organized into the three components of schools: organizational culture, physical place, and educational program. Within these three components, we have identified a total of nine principles.

This report defines each principle and utilizes literature from across the disciplines of social science, business, education, and building science to illustrate how each principle manifests in a school and why it is critical to success. To further illustrate each principle, we have included a short case study on a school or district that exemplifies the principle. Though we present just one aspect of a school or district in each case study, we believe each is practicing whole-school sustainability.

Earth School
United Nations Environment Programme

Earth School provides free, high-quality educational content. Initiated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and TED-Ed, Earth School takes students on a 30-day “Adventure” through the natural world. The curated Earth School content features videos, reading materials and activities — translated into 10 languages — to help students gain an understanding of the environment while considering their role within it. This is the biggest online learning initiative in UNEP’s history and is available for free on TED-Ed’s website.

Resources for Teachers and Students
Tree People

At TreePeople, we are dedicated to working alongside middle and high school educators to help students explore the topics of waste, water and forestry in a fun and engaging way. At this time, while students and teachers are doing classes virtually, we are also offering virtual high-quality, hands-on activities and project support for you and your students! Reach out to us via email, or call us at (818) 623-4856 to tell us how we can help you. Virtual Projects and Environmental Project Support: We can join your virtual classroom, conduct a virtual classroom for you, or walk you through how to conduct activities and projects with the topics below (activities take about an hour). • Recycling • Composting • Waste in the Fashion Industry • Native Plants • Water Pollution and Prevention Toolkits: We can send you our toolkits to download and help you teach lessons on water, waste, and forestry. Coming Soon: Virtual Teacher Workshops: We are working on transforming our in-person workshops to webinars, and will be launching them soon. Stay tuned! We are also launching new virtual community environmental education to engage people of all ages, just follow us on twitter, instagram, or facebook for more details.


Crayola and schools across North America are banding together to help kids understand the importance of their role in protecting the environment. That’s why we launched Crayola ColorCycle. Through this initiative, students in K-12 schools across the continental United States and parts of Canada can collect and repurpose used Crayola markers. ColorCycle is also a great opportunity for teachers and their students to explore ecofriendly practices. Specially developed standards-based lesson plans are available to enrich instruction and promote lively class discussions.

Climate Change Education Programs
Climate Generation

Climate Generation offers interdisciplinary solutions-based climate change education programs for K-12 educators. This includes a suite of K-12 climate change curricula that support current standards used in schools across the nation. Climate Generation also hosts 75 educators annually at its Summer Institute for Climate Education where they receive training and resources for teaching about climate change. Furthermore, climate generation provides an active year-round community that engages educators in lesson planning, book clubs, and education resource trainings. Its Youth Environmental Action program has several toolkits to support educators and youth in their efforts to increase awareness and action for climate change in their communities.

B-WET Regional Grants
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

B-WET regional funding opportunities are offered through local NOAA host offices and generally published in late summer or fall each year. Funded projects provide Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for students and related professional development for teachers. MWEEs support regional education and environmental priorities.