Beginning in October, the Center for Green Schools at USGBC has been leading the landmark national school survey on indoor air quality (IAQ), in collaboration with ASHRAE and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, and the deadline for response is coming up on Nov. 30. School district staff are invited to respond and tell us what kinds of indoor air quality measures they’ve implemented in their classrooms and what challenges they’ve confronted along the way. The responses will be aggregated into a report to be used in forming national policy and directing technical and financial resources to school districts.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts have been grappling with questions about indoor air quality in ways they have never been forced to address before. Longstanding issues around ventilation, filtration, temperature and humidity began to matter more and more as schools searched for ways to keep students and teachers safe and healthy amid contentious battles over in-person learning, masks and vaccinations. Improving air quality is noncontroversial, and is also an allowable use of the federal COVID-19 relief funding that is flowing to schools.
To support immediate action on indoor air quality, the Center for Green Schools has stepped up with guidance on using federal COVID-19 relief funds, detailed virtual education, an accessible series of IAQ fact sheets and information-gathering efforts like the national IAQ survey.
We need to hear from more school districts through the national IAQ survey, so we encourage USGBC members, volunteers and green building advocates to reach out to their local school districts.
Policymakers and national organizations and funders are hungry for additional information about what is happening on the ground—we saw this interest plainly in the release of our last IAQ survey report, Preparation in the Pandemic, in April 2021. The national picture that this new survey will enable us to paint will help local, state and federal policymakers understand what is needed on the ground. It will give NGOs, researchers and government officials an understanding of the decision-making process that school districts are going through related to IAQ, COVID-19 relief funding and facilities upgrades.