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EPA Honors Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools for Implementing Exemplary Indoor Air Quality Program

Release Date: 12/06/2004
Contact Information: Dawn Harris-Young, (404) 562-8421, harris-young.dawn@epa.gov Laura Niles, (404) 562-8353, niles.laura@epa.gov
Atlanta, GA, December 6, 2004 ---  Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in Charlotte, North Carolina is among 12 schools and districts selected to receive the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools (IAQ TfS) 2004 Excellence Award to protect indoor air quality for kids at school. The award was presented at EPA’s 5th Annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools National Symposium.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), one of the nation’s 25 largest school districts,  is rapidly growing and facing unique challenges. The District comprises 148 schools, half of which have established IAQ programs and half of which are set to have IAQ programs in place by Summer 2005. With nine new schools constructed over the past two years, new building design is another priority for the district. They are striving to build healthy, high-performance schools by following the guidance of EPA’s IAQ Design Tools for Schools program. The District developed a formal IAQ manual, emphasized training to promote broad participation, and has procedures in place to respond immediately to all indoor air quality concerns. CMS has worked closely with the University of Tulsa, an EPA grantee, to put these training programs and procedures in place.

The Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Excellence Award is EPA’s most prestigious award recognizing exemplary indoor air quality programs and commitment to providing a healthy learning environment for students and staff. The Excellence Award Winners are selected from hundreds of schools and districts nationwide that have implemented IAQ management programs and have seen dramatic improvements in indoor air quality. 

In 1995, EPA developed the voluntary IAQ TfS Kit and 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, one out of every 13 school-age children has asthma. The IAQ TfS Kit is a flexible, comprehensive resource designed to help school staff identify, resolve, and prevent IAQ problems and is available to schools at no cost. Currently, an estimated 25,000 schools and school districts across the country are utilizing the Kit.

Approximately 500 school representatives; health specialists; technical and environmental experts; federal, state, and local government personnel; and non-profit organization members participated in the 2004 Symposium. Participants discussed how to implement IAQ programs in a school setting, including communications strategies, mold remediation, facilities management and school building design, student performance, financing and asthma management. For more information about EPA’s Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Program, please visit www.epa.gov/iaq/schools