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Two Conn. School Districts Earn Kudos for Classroom Indoor Air Improvements

Release Date: 12/11/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. - Dec.11, 2008) – The Nutmeg State had two school districts, out of only eight nationwide, recognized by EPA for leading the way to prevent and solve indoor air quality problems in schools.

The school districts, Connecticut Technical High School System of Middletown and Amity Regional School District No. 5 of Woodbridge, were honored recently at EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium in Washington, D.C.

“Indoor air quality problems in schools can lead to a range of health problems, including allergy symptoms and asthma attacks,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “We are proud to honor both of these New England school districts, and their hard-working staff, for taking such important strides to improve indoor air quality in their schools. They are both truly national role models”

The Connecticut Technical High School System of Middletown was recognized with a National Excellence Award for their efforts since 2004 to customize EPA’s “Tools for Schools” program to establish an effective indoor air quality management program for the district’s technical high schools. The district worked with all involved parties to perform a comprehensive assessment of indoor air quality issues, and to develop procedures to improve air quality within the schools.

"The Connecticut Technical High School System is proud to be taking a leadership role in providing a safe, comfortable, and productive environment for our students and staff so that we achieve our core mission - educating students,” said Abigail L. Hughes, superintendent of the Conn. Technical High School System. “Our district will continue to follow the EPA guidance to improve our indoor air quality by preventing as many IAQ problems as possible, and by quickly responding to any IAQ problems that may arise."

The Amity Regional School District No. 5 of Woodbridge was recognized with a National Model of Sustained Excellence Award for their work since 2005 to address mold issues. Since 2006-2007, Amity has developed a plan to respond to indoor air quality complaints to ensure adequate investigation and action. School nurse visits related to asthma have also decreased across the district from 234 in 2002-03 to 2 in 2006-07.

“For a district that has gone from having serious issues with indoor air quality to being a national model of excellence, this is extremely rewarding,” said John Brady, superintendent of the Amity Regional School District. “The three towns we serve made a commitment to upgrade all three buildings in our school district with the very finest HVAC systems and other methods of making sure indoor air quality is as good as it can be. The Amity Board of Education was thrilled with the award and has redoubled its commitment to helping other districts in our region and in our state.”

EPA’s focus on indoor air quality includes steps to assist schools nationwide to address environmental health topics including radon, mold, asthma management, maintaining ventilation systems, integrated pest management, green cleaning products and practices, and best practices of high-performing schools.

EPA introduced the Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools program in 1995 as a comprehensive resource to help schools maintain a healthy environment in school buildings by identifying, correcting, and preventing IAQ problems. The program has provided hundreds of schools with a variety of easy-to-use products, materials, and tools at no cost to help them implement an indoor air quality management program. A recent U.S. Center for Disease Control study found that half the nation’s schools, representing 30 million children and staff, now have IAQ management programs in place, 85 percent of which relied on EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools.

Other winners of EPA awards for efforts to improve indoor air quality in schools include districts in Baldwin, N.Y., Bellingham, Wash., Newark, N.J., San Antonio, Texas and Katy, Texas.

More information:
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools/