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Environmental Health and Safety
Indoor Air Quality Tips for Teachers

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INDOOR AIR QUALITY

Studies indicate indoor air quality (IAQ) has the potential to assist or impede the education process.  CMS participates in the USEPA Tools for Schools IAQ program which provides empowering tools for building occupants to use in identifying and resolving many IAQ issues.  If you have an IAQ issue in your classroom or work area report it to the front office promptly.  A work request should be promptly entered for Building Services response.

See the EPA Fact Sheet

Click here for IAQ lesson plans provided by the National Education Association!

IAQ TIPS FOR TEACHERS

Teachers have a significant role maintaining good air quality in classrooms.  Below are a few tips for teachers that if followed can assist in maintaining or improving the air quality of classrooms.

DON"T BLOCK HEATING OR AIR CONDITIONING SUPPLY AND RETURN AIR DUCTS 

Tip #10 – Classroom air supply systems are critical to the classroom environment. It is important that air systems are not manually turned on or off and are not blocked.  Classroom air systems will not work properly when the system is even partially blocked.  If there are issues with your air supply system, ask the front office to enter a work request for Building Services to address the issue on your behalf. 

Air System Blocked with Classroom Items 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 PLEASE, NO UPHOLSTERED FURNITURE AND STUFFED TOYS

Tip #9 – Cloth furniture, stuffed animals, pillows and other such articles are reservoirs for allergens and asthma triggers.  It is important to wash these types of materials out of the classroom or cleaned regularly to keep allergens to a minimum. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PREVENT DUST ACCUMULATIONS

Tip #8 – Dust can be a serious problem for asthmatics or others with upper respiratory sensitivity.   Keeping clutter to a minimum will allow your custodian to take better care of your room.  For instance, keeping stored materials in plastic boxes with lids allows them to be dusted.  Your custodian takes good care of your room.  However, the hygiene of personal items, media carts, computers and stored materials is the responsibility of the teacher(s) using or storing these items.

 

ANIMAL DANDER IS AN ALLERGEN

Tip #7 – Furry animals produce dander which can be both an allergen and asthma trigger.  It is best not to have furry animals in the classroom. If animals are required for curriculum the  cages should be cleaned on a daily basis and more sensitive children should sit on the opposite side of the room from the animals.  Animal food should be stored in sealable vessels.   You should never be able to smell the presence of the animals in your classroom. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEODORIZERS PUT CHEMICALS IN THE AIR

Tip #6 – Masking agents introduce substances into the air that may smell nice to some, but may be offensive or upper respiratory irritants to others.  It is best not to use masking agents in classrooms.  If there is a building related problem causing odors, the masking agent makes it harder to find the problem.  There have been a number of response actions conducted by district personnel where simply  removing the masking agents out of the building resolved  staff and student upper respiratory irritation.

 

USE THE WORK ORDER SYSTEM TO ADJUST HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS

Tip #5 – It is important that classroom air systems are allowed to run as designed.  Tampering with the air system not only impacts your room, but may start a domino effect that impacts other classrooms too.  If your classroom is not within the accepted temperature range contact the front office to request support. 

 

USE BREAK ROOMS OR CAFETERIA TO PREPARE FOOD AND BEVERAGES

Tip #4 – Do not store or prepare food in classrooms unless there is a specific medical or curriculum need to do so.  Food spoils, attracts pests and should be prepared in appropriate spaces.  Home appliances are not intended for use in school buildings and generally do not have the appropriate safety ASTM rating.

 

PERFUME AND COLOGNE CAN BE UPPER RESPIRATORY IRRITANTS 

Tip #3 – Perfumes, aftershave and colognes may be serious upper respiratory irritants.  Reduce use to a minimum while at school to avoid triggering asthma attacks or causing upper respiratory system irritation.

 

REPORT WATER EVENTS PROMPTLY

Tip #2 – Report floods, water leaks, or water spots to the front office promptly.  By reporting these issues early the initial problem can be addressed by Building Services before the moisture becomes a more serious event.

 

EDUCATE YOURSELF WITH FREE MATERIALS DESIGNED FOR YOUR BENEFIT

Tip #1 – Empower yourself to improve the indoor environment by reading up on IAQ at the USEPA Tools for Schools IAQ Website, complete the on-line MyPD Indoor Air Quality Training, volunteer for your school’s environmental leadership team, or request an IAQ training for your school by contacting the CMS Customer Service Call Center at 980-343-6040.

 

 

P.O. Box 30035
Charlotte, NC 28230-0035
Phone: 980-343-3000
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools website (www.cms.k12.nc.us) is in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Any website accessibility concerns may be brought via the following, Email the Web Accessibility Team at WebAccessibility or Call: 980.343.0115. In compliance with Federal Law, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools administers all education programs, employment activities and admissions without discrimination against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability. Inquiries regarding compliance with Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in education programs or activities, may be referred to the District's Title IX Coordinator at titleixcoordinator or to the Office for Civil Rights, United States Department of Education.