As schools prepare for the start of another year, we encourage parents, teachers, and community officials to keep in mind the important role that environmental factors play in health. In a recent report prepared by Healthy Schools Network and the New Jersey Work Environmental Council, the organizations have assembled a call to action for states and public agencies, asking them to provide guidance for schools on how to successfully prepare for reopening.
The findings touch on a number of important environmental factors to consider that contribute to health (or lack thereof) within the school setting such as indoor air quality, safer pest management, drinking water, and building conditions. However, one of the most pressing environmental factors facing schools as they reopen this year is the increased pressure for consistent and effective cleaning and disinfecting measures.
The report creators advocate for the use of soap and water as well as the replacement of classroom cleaners with “unscented, third-party certified green general all-purpose cleaners and safer disinfectants.” We applaud the conscious effort to move schools towards safer cleaning alternatives. Effective cleaning and disinfecting will be crucial this coming school year, and it remains imperative to find less toxic ways to accomplish these goals. By utilizing less toxic cleaning methods, schools can create a healthier school environment, which contributes to the overall health and wellness of students and staff.
NATIONAL CALL TO ACTION: The Pandemic v. Schools — States Must Guide Schools on Reopening, Slowing Spread of Virus, prepared by Healthy Schools Network and New Jersey Work Environment Council