Envision Program: Promoting Healthy School Environments

Poor indoor air quality in schools has been linked to decreased student and teacher performance and increased absenteeism. Poor indoor air quality can also result in acute symptoms such as eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, nausea, lethargy and chronic conditions—such as asthma and allergies. The Envision Program – Promoting Healthy School Environments was created by the Legislature in 2000 as part of the School Environmental Health Act (Act 125) to address indoor air quality issues by providing model environmental health management plans, policies and guidance to schools.

The School Environmental Health Act 125 was passed into law with goals to improve school indoor air quality, reduce hazardous exposures, and help schools earn the Envision Certificate of Achievement.

    Learn more about Act 125

    Act 125 is one of a kind in the nation, setting standards that:

    • Address the issues of air quality and other environmental factors that may affect health of children, staff and teachers in our schools
    • Recognize the importance of sustaining a healthy school environment through adoption of a model environmental health management plan and policy

    The Envision Program is accomplished as a joint effort by Vermont’s departments of Health and Buildings & General Services, and the Agency of Education, which work together to:

    • Create and maintain a clearinghouse of environmental health information on the Health Department’s website
    • Provide technical assistance to schools
    • Provide workshops on environmental health for school personnel
    • Develop a model environmental health plan and policy
    • Encourage and assist schools in developing programs that will enable them to address and prevent environmental health issues through voluntary participation

    From unblocking vents to limiting the use of disinfecting wipes, you can take simple steps to make your school healthier. Check out the video below and learn how to inspect your school building to identify potential environmental health issues. Then scroll down to find important resources about the Envision Program and how to address indoor air quality and environmental health in your school.

     

    Resource Description
    Envision: About the Envision Program The goal of the Envision Program is to assist schools in creating and implementing environmental health management plans. Learn more about it.
    Envision: Model Environmental Health Policy Complete this form if your school district intends to participate in the Envision Program.
    Envision: Model Environmental Management Plan Follow this guide/framework for creating your school-specific environmental health plan.
    Envision: Certificate of Achievement Form Complete the online form to apply for your Envision Certificate of Achievement.
    Envision: Model Purchasing Procedures See an example of a Model Purchasing Procedure.
    Envision: Construction and Renovation Procedures See an example of a Model Construction/Renovation Procedure.
    Envision: HVAC Procedures See an example of a Model Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Procedure.
    Envision: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Procedures See an example of a Model Integrated Pest Management Procedure.
    Resources: Indoor Air Quality Design Tools for Schools Search the EPA's online tool to help school districts and facility planners design the next generation of learning environments so that the school facility will help schools in achieving their core mission of education.
    Resources: Healthy Schools, Healthy Kids—Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Visit the EPA's comprehensive schools website, which offers all the resources you need to establish, maintain, or enhance a school environmental health program.
    Resources: Vermont Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program Visit Vermont's Environmentally Preferred Purchasing (EPP) Program website to determine which products and services to purchase that have a lesser effect on human health and the environment.
    Envision School Walkthrough Inspection Checklist (online version) Use this self-guided building inspection that helps schools to identify potential environmental health issues and develop plans to address any issues found.
    Envision School Walkthrough Inspection Checklist (printable version) Print and use this self-guided building inspection that helps schools to identify potential environmental health issues and develop plans to address any issues found.
    Contact Information

    The Envision Program is based at the Health Department. Questions about the program, model plan, or technical assistance on a school environmental health issue should be directed to:

    Envision Program
    108 Cherry Street
    P.O. Box 70 – Drawer 70
    Burlington, VT 05402-0070
    Phone: 802-863-7220 or
    800-439-8550 (toll-free in Vermont)
    Fax: 802-863-7483
    envision@vermont.gov

    Find regional indoor air quality contacts for the Environmental Protection Agency