Children spend a great deal of time in schools. In fact, with clubs, activities and sports teams, it's not uncommon for kids to spend nearly as much time in their school buildings as they do at home.
The quality of a school building can have a significant impact on students. In addition to affecting a child's learning potential and concentration, a poorly maintained facility can even put a child's health at risk, often without anyone even being aware that it's happening.
One major example of a factor that can affect the health of students and staff alike is indoor air quality. Maintaining an acceptable IAQ can be a difficult task, but fortunately, a new app has surfaced that may help administrators and facility managers do just that.
A one-stop shop in the palm of your hand
Do you know how to go about measuring your school's IAQ? What about your familiarity with EPA guidelines, regulations and advice on keeping the quality of your building's air safe for students? Maintaining a good air quality in your school requires you to have access to a lot of information, and it makes sense that you may not be intimately familiar with all the details off the top of your head.
Fortunately, with a new app from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you don't need to be an expert, since you'll have access to the experts on your smartphone. The School IAQ Assessment app offers a variety of resources for maintenance staff and administrators to use in keeping air quality where it should be. If you need help carrying out an inspection of your school's air quality, the app provides resources to walk you through the process. It also provides in-app checklists that you can share with other app-users. You can even attach pictures of certain areas so you can improve efficiency and reduce communication.
Of course, measuring your air quality is just one part of the process. Acting on the results of your inspection is equally important, and fortunately, the EPA's app includes direct links to the online toolkit designed to empower school staff to effect positive change in air quality.
"You don't have to wait until people start getting sick to make positive changes."
Does your IAQ need an overhaul?
There's no question that apps such as the one created by the EPA can be immensely useful in managing building maintenance, but how do you know if your school is in need of a new air quality solution?
One major indicator that air quality may be lower than it should be is the health and wellness of your building's occupants. Frequent absences due to sickness or complaints of illness can often point to building-wide issues. Children with chronic allergies or asthma are particularly sensitive to air quality, so if you notice what appears to be a sudden asthma epidemic, you have a pretty good idea of the culprit.
But you don't have to wait until people start getting sick to make positive changes. It's never a bad time to carry out routine inspections or preventive maintenance on your building. In fact, doing so can save you a significant amount of money down the road.