Indoor Air Quality And Student Performance

Indoor Air Quality And Student Performance

Many people are unaware of the importance the indoor air quality environment plays in a child’s ability to succeed academically. One of the most important factors that can substantially limit a child’s ability to thrive physically and academically is that of poor indoor air quality. 

Parents, school leaders, and policymakers need to be aware of the impact of poor indoor air quality on student performance and health. Understanding the relationship between school conditions and student health and academic performance will enable school officials and parents to improve the state of schools.

New research highlighting the negative impact of poor classroom air quality on students' performance.  have found that poor air quality in the classroom has a negative impact on students "performance.     Poor indoor air has a negative impact on student health on student performance and health.  Ventilation rates and carbon dioxide concentrations in schools directly correlate with student performance, health symptoms or signs, and absence rates.  Peak daily, and even time-average, concentrations of carbon dioxide in occupied classrooms are often double the recommended 1000 ppm levels. 

Classrooms need to maintain acceptable temperatures and humidity, control air pollutants, and install outdoor air filters in the building. Having the knowledge of what good indoor air quality is will guide your work and help you in your efforts to maintain and control it.        

In addition, studies have shown that improving indoor air quality, such as reducing indoor pollutants, can help to increase the cognitive performance of individuals by up to 101 percent. The EPA cites scientific studies that suggest indoor air problems can lead to higher rates of asthma, heart disease, cancer, and other health problems. Poor indoor air quality has an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer.

Many schools have leaks, water damage, and excessive humidity, leading to dust, mold, and other allergens in the air that contribute to poor indoor air quality.     

Ways To Fix Poor Air Quality In Schools

1)  Improve Ventilation – By keeping airflow moving throughout the building, schools can prevent harmful air from stagnating and being breathed into children’s lungs. Keep windows and doors open while making sure HVAC systems are operated and updated regularly and if they’re not, teachers can open windows for further fresh air. This is critical in managing the levels of carbon dioxide and any potential risks from carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, ground-level ozone, and many other indoor air pollutants. For older schools without an HVAC system, it is important for fresh air to be able to come in from the outside. On a nice day, this is simple but presents other challenges in winter.

2) Find Leaks – Find any leaks or areas of erosion where pollution is entering the building and fix them properly, providing a long-term solution. This will prevent further seepage of harmful air pollutants and contaminants. In some cases, UV-C lights are used in the HVAC air ducts to prevent mold growth from standing water.

3)  Clean the Air with an Air Purifier – Adding a commercial air cleaner or set of HEPA air purifiers throughout a school can filter the air substantially, using high-efficiency filtration to remove up to 99.99% of harmful airborne particulates. Browse our full selection of Commercial Air Purifiers and our HEPA Air Purifier Bundles.   

Causes Of Poor Air Quality In Schools

1) Poor Ventilation & HVAC Systems - Inadequate ventilation results in high levels of harmful airborne particulates and carbon dioxide levels. It also leads to mold and bacteria growth. Lastly, if HVAC systems aren’t cleaned regularly, they can blow particulate matter like dirt and other harmful build-ups into classrooms.

2) Indoor Air Pollutants – With so many kids carrying their germs around schools, bacteria are regularly being spread around classrooms. Consider the additional chemicals and off-gassing from cleaning products and the air is almost certainly unhealthy.

3) Aging Buildings – Many schools have been running for decades, with very few updates. As a result, many schools have problems with leaks, water damage, and excessive moisture – which lead to dust, mold, and other airborne allergens that contribute to poor indoor air quality.

4) Schools Located Near Sources of Pollution – Schools that are located in busy cities or near highways face a barrage of fumes from exhaust and gases like carbon monoxide. Those that are near industrial plants face similar outdoor air quality challenges. To help with this the EPA enacted the Clean Air Act. As part of this, they require major sources of pollutants to obtain an operating permit called a Title V Permit.

Fresh Air Ventilation At Schools Should Be The Highest Priority

open windows and doors at schools

Solving indoor air problems in schools is a long-standing problem in many schools. Many school districts have launched a new initiatives to improve the quality of ventilation in public schools.  School openings are in chaos as administrations try to figure out how to revamp their often neglected heating, ventilation and air conditioning infrastructure so that poor air flow does not contribute to transmitting COVID-19 infections to students, teachers and families. 

Education about indoor air quality (IAQ) And that's one way people can be proactive and protect themselves from diseases in general. There are four critical IA-QQ tools in schools that should be kept in mind: improving ventilation, installing proper air filtration systems, maintaining healthy relative humidity, and introducing continuous monitoring of air quality. A guide says that districts and schools are encouraged to increase the frequency of fresh air to improve the quality of indoor air. 

Guidelines recently published by the Health Authority suggest that schools should move activities outdoors as much as possible, ensure proper operation of ventilation systems and adjust them to increase air flow. 

A federal agency estimates that 41 percent of school districts need to replace or replace heating and ventilation systems, underscoring the significant infrastructure needs for schools as they prepare for the novel coronavirus when it reopens. The Government Accountability Office said several schools it visited had HVAC systems were leaking or dirty and causing damage, and that if these problems were not addressed, they could lead to indoor air quality problems and even force schools to temporarily close until the problems are resolved.      

Office buildings usually have box-like roof units that heat the interior by supplying air to display HVAC booths. In schools, which are naturally ventilated in many warmer regions, these systems are relatively rare and far apart, meaning that air is circulated through windows, ducts and the roof.  Typically office buildings and other buildings with highly efficient air conditioning systems can create a thermally pleasant environment for people and often also improve the quality of the circulating indoor air.     

It is important to ventilate sufficiently to ensure that the indoor air is sufficiently refreshed from the outside with fresh air. If you have your indoor climate under control, make sure you get enough fresh air from outside to circulate and refresh throughout the building.     

The development of a proper general ventilation system can play an important role in preventing the spread of infections. By monitoring the carbon dioxide levels that are often used to measure ventilation, we can ensure that school interiors inject sufficient outside air into the ventilation systems to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the recirculating air.     

It can also be a good time to think about ways to improve the air quality in your building without significantly changing the size of the ventilation system or making physical changes to control the indoor air flow. Increasing the amount of outside air mixed into mechanical ventilation systems, or even simply setting up fans to carry air into and out of classrooms, can serve as a weather solution.         

These guidelines recognize the importance of ventilation, but recognize that in the event of a pandemic, there are no completely safe indoor spaces. However, minimizing concentration of people sharing and breathing the same air can help minimize airborne spread of the disease.    

Ventilation is one of four basic requirements for schools to reopen successfully in the classroom, the other being to wear masks and avoid crowds, and the use of air conditioning and ventilation systems. The safe way to stay indoors is to constantly stream outside air into the room and replace it.  Windows should not be opened when the air conditioning is running, as moist air entering through windows can increase the likelihood of mold forming.   

Although many classrooms do not have air conditioning, open windows are the only cooling available to classrooms and can be helpful if classrooms have them.     

Air quality in schools can also be discussed, as it can affect the health of students, teachers, staff, parents and other students in the classroom. The guidelines, recently issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), suggest that schools should not cause health problems for students or staff. They suggest moving activities outside where possible, ensuring that the ventilation system is working properly and adapting it for increased air exchange.

There is no evidence that ventilation directly reduces the risk of disease transmission, but studies after studies have shown that coronavirus spreads in poorly ventilated areas. Many studies suggest that inadequate ventilation increases the transmission of the disease. Studies of carbon dioxide levels used as a substitute for the ventilation unit have shown that it is common to ventilate incorrectly, and ventilation rates in schools often fall below recommended minimum ventilation rates.