Skip to main content

School Health Research Library

We have curated a library of peer-reviewed scientific studies from around the world published since 2016, focusing on the school built environment and occupant health and performance. This research builds on the 2017 Schools for Health: Foundations for Student Success report released by Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health that synthesizes foundational research about school indoor environmental quality impacts on students and staff.

To help translate this research into action in schools, we have compiled School Health Research Highlights to help school staff and leaders access key findings and actionable strategies on priority topics.

Displaying 11 - 20 of 284 | Export entire research library

A virtual speaker in noisy classroom conditions: supporting or disrupting children's listening comprehension?

Nirme, J

We found significantly fewer correct answers to explicit content questions after listening in
noise. This negative effect was only mitigated to a marginally significant degree by audio-visual presentation. Strong executive function only…

Keywords: Listening, Comprehension, Noise, Education, Multimodality, Virtual humans, Education, Classrooms


Evaluation on exposures to particulate matter at a junior secondary school: a comprehensive study on health risks and effective inflammatory responses in Northwestern China

Xu, H

The incremental lifetime cancer risks associated with PAHs were estimated and were 1.62 × 10−6 and 2.34 × 10−6, respectively, for indoor and outdoor fine PMs. Both the values exceeded the threshold value of 1 × 10−6, demonstrating that the…

Keywords: BC and PAHS, Cancer risks, Feno, Health assessment, Northwestern china, Particulate matter (PM)


The real and subjective indoor environmental quality in schools

Meciarova, L

Very high CO2 levels were determined in both investigated schools. In three of four classrooms the statistically significant differences (p < 0.01) were reported between TVOC
levels in autumn and spring. The recommended value for TVOC…

Keywords: Subjective perception, IEQ, School, Children


Nature contact at school: The impact of an outdoor classroom on children's well-being

Largo- Wight, E

Teachers’ redirections of child behavior were significantly fewer in the nature condition (t = 2.49, p < 0.05) compared to the control. Also, fewer children were off task in the nature condition on average. There were mixed well-being results;…

Keywords: Nature contact intervention, Outdoor classroom, Green school, Children


Indoor environmental quality, allergens, and surface biocontamination in tribal homes and schools from Cherokee Nation

Shaughnessy, R

The median cat, dog, and
cockroach allergen concentrations in the fall were medium to high
in homes (0.9-1.6 mg/g) and even higher in schools (0.8-2.0 mg/g).
Increased concentrations were observed in the winter, to levels…



Review of indoor radon concentrations in schools and kindergartens


Preliminary assessment of the worldwide population weighted characteristics of radon concentration in children’s institutions is: arithmetic mean = 59 and geometric mean = 36 Bq/m3. Higher indoor radon concentrations in children’s institutions in…



A slight increase in reverberation time in the classroom affects performance and behavioral listening effort

Prodi, Nicola

While the longer reverberation time did not significantly affect
accuracy or RTs under the quiet condition, it had several effects when
in combination with classroom noise, depending on the task measured.
A significant drop in…

Keywords: Children, Classroom acoustics, Comprehension, Listening effort, Math, Reverberation, Speech perception


The effects of different types of environmental noise on academic performance and perceived task difficult in adolescents with ADHD

Batho, Lauren

Participants in the white noise condition took less time to read the passage and wrote more words on the essay compared with participants in the other conditions, though white noise did not improve academic accuracy. The participants in the babble…

Keywords: Adolescent ADHD, Adolescents, Distraction, Academic performance, Perceptions


Is brief exposure to green space in the school the best option to improve attention in children?

Anabitarte, A

our experimental results do not support the hypothesis that students’ exposure to activities in green vs. grey spaces affected their performance in ANT. This was so despite the fact that neither age nor gender biases have been detected and despite…

Keywords: Attention network test, Natural spaces, Mental health, Reml


Children's well-being at schools: Impact of climatic conditions and air pollution

Salthammer, T

High carbon dioxide concentrations in classrooms, which indicate poor ventilation conditions, and the increasing particle matter in urban outdoor air have, in particular, been identified as primary causes of poor indoor air quality in schools.…

Keywords: Thermal comfort, Ventilation, Carbon dioxide (CO2), Indoor chemistry, Exposure in classroom, Guideline values