Healthy Schools

Helping schools maintain a healthy environment for students, teachers and staff is a priority for the State of Vermont. Chemicals used inside the school or on school grounds may contribute to poor indoor air quality (pollution) that can hurt student and teacher performance and result in missed school days. Poor indoor air quality can cause:

  • Eye, nose and throat irritation
  • Nausea
  • Tiredness
  • Long-term conditions—such as asthma and allergies

ATTENTION TEACHERS:
disinfecting wipes
Disinfecting wipes are easy to use but are generally not safe for everyday classroom use. Disinfecting wipes (e.g. Lysol and Clorox brands) contain harsh chemicals that have been linked to acute and chronic health issues. They can cause eye, skin and respiratory irritation. And the fragrances used can trigger allergies and asthma and have been linked to hormone disruption and reproductive issues. Learn more about disinfecting wipes and what to use instead

Vermont offers programs and resources to improve and maintain healthy school environments. The School Environment Health Act (Act 125) aims to improve school indoor air quality, reduce exposures to hazardous materials, and help schools earn the Envision Certificate of Achievement.

The Envision Program – Promoting Healthy School Environments was created from Act 125. It helps schools identify, prevent, and problem-solve potential environmental health and indoor air quality issues by providing a model environmental health management plan and policy. Envision gives schools the tools, training, and technical assistance to create and maintain a healthier school environment.

Healthy schools are more than ensuring good indoor air quality in school buildings. Creating a healthy school includes reducing exposure to other toxic substances, particularly asbestos, lead and radon.

Contact Information

Envision Program
Phone: 802-863-7220 or
800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)
Fax: 802-863-7483

envision@vermont.gov

In This Section

Poor indoor air quality in schools has been linked to decreased student and teacher performance and increased absenteeism as well as acute and chronic health effects. The Envision Program was created to help schools address indoor air quality issues.

The Envision Program best practices are intended to provide school administrators, nurses, maintenance and building services staff with tools to use when planning for renovations, preventative maintenance, pest management and control, monitoring of drinking water, and other building activities.

Children can come in contact with lead in many ways. Exposure to lead can slow down growth, development, and learning and can cause behavior problems in children.

Implementing lead safety into school renovation plans is an important step to lower the overall risk of being exposed to lead.

For most school children and staff, the second largest contributor to their radon exposure is likely to be their school.

The Asbestos Hazardous Emergency Response Act (AHERA) was established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect students, educators, and staff from exposure to asbestos in schools.