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North Haven, Conn. Schools Awarded for Exceptional Indoor Air Quality Program

Release Date: 12/02/2004
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan, EPA Press Office, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: December 2, 2004; Release # dd04-11-09

BOSTON -- The North Haven School District received a national award for its work improving air quality throughout the school system. The public school district was one of two New England school districts, and 12 nationally, to receive the prestigious "Tools for Schools" award at a Washington, D.C. ceremony today.

EPA's "Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Excellence Award" recognizes exemplary indoor air quality programs that are committed to providing a healthy environment for students and staff. North Haven was recognized for successfully using the Tools for Schools program to improve air quality and raise awareness about air quality issues.

"North Haven's work has improved the indoor air environment at the community's schools," said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA's New England office. "This district stands out among a select group of school districts that use this effective indoor air quality program."

"Children spend a significant amount of time in schools," commented Jeff Holmstead, EPA's assistant administrator for national air programs, who presented the award during the fifth annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium. "We want to ensure that our nation's schools are free of indoor environmental pollutants and irritants that may affect the health and productivity of students and staff."

In 1995, EPA developed the voluntary Tools for School program in response to government studies highlighting the deteriorating conditions of the nation's schools and the alarming rise in asthma cases, particularly among school and preschool age children. Asthma alone accounts for 14 million missed school days each year.

Today, New England has some of the highest asthma rates in the nation, with every state reporting a childhood asthma rate of 10 percent or higher. In Connecticut, 13 out of every 100 children suffers from asthma. The free Tools for Schools kit is designed to help school staff identify, resolve, and prevent indoor air quality problems. About 10,000 schools and school districts across the country use this program.

"The North Haven Public Schools and the North Haven Board of Education are committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for all of our employees and students." said Sara R. Querfeld, the Superintendent of Schools. "We are delighted to be recognized for our indoor air quality efforts."

After North Haven Public Schools experienced mold problems in 2002 and 2003, the state created the Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team. Working with this team and the Quinnipiac Valley Health District, school officials used the Tools for Schools kit and found most of the indoor air issues could be addressed simply, through such measures as cleaning or equipment calibration. North Haven school officials were quick to share information with the community and to get residents involved. Parents and teachers now work together and district officials have appeared on local access television to explain the program. Community trust has improved, and the leadership of the teachers' union has praised the district's quick response to indoor air quality issues.

More information about EPA's Tools for Schools Program is available at: http://www.epa.gov/iaq/schools .

Related Information:
Indoor Air
Tools for Schools