Aerial view of school campus.

First-of-its-kind standard prioritizes low-cost measures to improve indoor air quality.

On March 4, Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Green Seal announced a pilot Healthy Green Schools & Colleges certification standard to support facilities leaders in identifying and implementing low- or no-cost measures that make a significant difference in school indoor air quality.

As an official Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Early Adopter, Cape Elizabeth has provided advice and input on the development of this first-of-its-kind standard for healthy and sustainable school facilities.  Cape Elizabeth will now begin formally implementing the standard to provide recommendations to the Healthy Schools Campaign and Green Seal on the thresholds for certification levels when the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges certification program launches this Spring. 

The pilot standard is publicly available for any school district or university to use today to improve air quality in their facilities. It is designed to be implemented district-wide or university-wide to ensure an organization-level commitment to standard operating procedures, resource distribution, and facility maintenance that supports the health of all students and staff, as well as the environment.

“It’s exciting to be part of a program at this early stage, especially since the goals are in such alignment with what my vision has been for both the school and town.” - David Bagdasarian, Facilities Director - Cape Elizabeth School & Town.

“The pandemic has made creating healthy school environments an urgent national priority and brought to light the significant under-investment in school facilities nationwide,” said Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal. “This national standard fills a critical gap to provide schools with the resources and network to ensure a quality of school facility that every student in America deserves.”

“Unhealthy indoor air, inadequate ventilation, and chemical exposure from cleaning and maintenance routines are linked to poor concentration and test performance in students. These conditions are disproportionately found in schools serving primarily low-income Black and Latinx students, making this an important issue of equity.,” said Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of Healthy Schools Campaign. “The Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program is designed for any school district or university that commits to providing safer and healthier indoor school environments, whether they are just getting started on this path or already are leaders.”

About the Standard

The pilot standard covers the full range of facilities management practices, including:

  • Cleaning and Disinfecting to reduce exposure and injury risks to cleaning staff; reduce the risk of virus transmission; reduce exposure to environmental health hazards; and support student health needs.

  • Integrated Pest Management to protect occupants from environmental health hazards and improve the indoor air quality of school facilities.

  • Sustainable Purchasing to ensure school district or university purchases reduce negative environmental and human health impacts and help reduce the spread of infectious disease, while also delivering effective functional performance.

  • HVAC and Electric Maintenance to ensure proactive, preventative, planned, and reactive maintenance for all installed HVAC devices and fixtures to maximize their period of usefulness and improve the indoor air quality of school facilities. 

  • Indoor Air Quality Testing and Monitoring to ensure processes, procedures, and tools are in place to monitor indoor air quality, while balancing the impact of HVAC on energy consumption and helping to identify opportunities to improve indoor air quality.

  • Training to ensure cleaning and maintenance personnel work in the safest and most effective manner possible and receive appropriate training to promote health, safety, sustainability, sanitation, and minimize the spread of infectious disease through their work.

  • Communication to encourage cleaning staff, management, school building administrators, employees, and students to practice clear, effective, and equitable communication to develop trust.

Learn more about the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges standard and program here.

ABOUT CAPE ELIZABETH - Cape Elizabeth Public Schools are a top rated, public school district located in the coastal town Cape Elizabeth, Maine.