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.

Healthy Indoor Environments in Schools During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Beyond
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

This page contains links to resources and guidance from federal agencies about indoor air considerations for schools during COVID-19 and for school reopening, as well as Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools resources to help create, maintain, and improve healthy learning environments beyond the pandemic.

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

This publication can help 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 trucking traffic, or near other traffic or vehicular pollution sources. Many of these strategies are already being used by schools across the country to reduce exposures to traffic-related air pollution. We hope that this compilation of best practices will help other schools that want to take steps to address concerns about traffic-related pollution exposure.

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 Postsecondary Sustainability Listening Session
U.S. Department of Education

Recording from public listening session on postsecondary sustainability taken on Aug. 30, 2021.

Recording from Equity in Sustainable Schools Listening Session
U.S. Department of Education

Recording from Equity in Sustainable Schools public listening session on Aug. 3, 2021.

Recording from Incentivizing Outdoor and Environmental Education Listening Session
U.S. Department of Education

Recording from public listening session on incentivizing outdoor and environmental education taken on Aug. 23, 2021.

Recording from Career Opportunities in the Green and Blue Economy
U.S. Department of Education

Recording from public listening session on career opportunities in the green and blue economy taken on Aug. 18, 2021.

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

These scientific guidelines tell us that our schools are safer when we have appropriate distancing in classrooms and on school buses, when masks are worn consistently and properly, when handwashing occurs regularly, when we are able to effectively respond to cases through testing and contact tracing, and when we follow other recommended steps. To meet these guidelines, some schools will need more teachers and support staff to ensure smaller class sizes, more buses and drivers to transport our kids safely, more spaces to conduct in-person instruction, and more protective equipment, school cleaning services, and physical alterations to reduce the risk of spread of the virus.

Safely Distributing School Meals during COVID-19
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Details the unique set of model-specific mitigation practices for several COVID-19 adapted school meal distribution models, including Drive-through, Walk-up, Home Delivery, Mobile Route Delivery, Bus Route Delivery, Meals in the Classroom, and Meals in the Cafeteria.