How to write a School Policy on Air Quality

Virtually any school that operates in an environment with air pollution issues should have a detailed policy on how to protect its students from these hazards.

However, also schools in clean air environments should consider a school policy with a focus on in-classroom air quality. Many classrooms have substandard ventilation and as a result can reach very high CO2 levels which can have a significant impact on cognitive functioning.

A good school policy on air quality should cover the following areas:

  • Statement on the importance of healthy air for its students and staff
  • Overview of air quality infrastructure (e.g. purifiers)
  • Explanation of how air quality is monitored (outside and in-classroom air)
  • Actions and Accommodations based on different levels of
    • Outside Fine Particles (PM 2.5)
    • Inside Fine Particles (PM 2.5)
    • Inside CO2
    • Other for your environment important pollutants (Ozone, Formaldehyde, NOx, etc)
  • Communication of current and historical air quality to:
    • Students
    • Teachers
    • Parents
  • Emergency Procedures
    • School closures due to bad air quality
    • Remote learning options

As important as the content of the policy is the process of writing the policy. The school policy on clean air will only work if the key stakeholders are involved in the drafting of the policy.

Ideally, a small group of key stakeholders should draft the policy together to make sure all different perspectives and expectations are met. Key stakeholders would be Students, Teachers, Parents, and other important school staff. These respective groups should then reach out and create information sessions or round tables in order to collect feedback and opinions from as many people as possible. This will also make all stakeholders feel being part of the process and implementation of the policy will become much smoother.