Sick Buildings, Sick Students
The link between a student’s physical well-being and his or her academic performance is well documented, and most educators agree that a healthy environment is a key component to successful schools. But too often, “sick schools” —those with everyday environmental problems that affect student health—are overlooked. How widespread is the problem? More than half of U.S. schools have indoor air quality problems in at least some part of their campuses.
Pandemic Planning for Schools
How can public schools possibly prepare for a pandemic that would touch every aspect of society, while keeping the plan simple enough to effectively implement? Following the suggestion of several state and local health agencies, we decided to explore just what kind of an impact a pandemic could have on state and local resources, as well as on our district’s general operations. After meeting with health, logistics, and emergency preparation experts, we determined it would be staggering.
The Healthy Approach
Twenty years ago, Lloyd Kolbe and Diane Allensworth introduced the theory of coordinated school health, the idea that schools can improve students’ academic performance and overall physical well being by promoting health in a systemic way. Coordinated school health programs show that proper nutrition, exercise, and learning go hand-in-hand.