Online Program

Healthy learning places for children - full panel

Tuesday, November 5, 2013 : 8:50 a.m. - 9:10 a.m.

Claire Barnett, MBA, Healthy Schools Network, Albany, NY
Education is constitutionally left to the states and states compel children to attend school. But decayed school facilities or facilities proximate to hazards will damage the health of children and personnel. The literature shows that healthy school environments boost attendance and achievement and generate savings, greater than energy savings. Recent studies report indoor environmental exposures may be 100-1,000 more intense than outdoor exposures; another, that pediatric asthma hospitalizations can triple on returns to school. The third triennial national report (Towards Healthy Schools 2015) reveals disparities in state capacities. Gaps include no standardized facility assessment tools, no sustained facility funding or guidance, lack of remediation funds for legacy toxics, and no public health services for children. US EPA has reduced or eliminated assistance programs for schools-focused programs; CDC dissolved its School Health program and cut asthma and lead funding. Education has a new "green schools" award, but it is not aligned with EPA or CDC environment and public health goals. The national report cites federal data on enrollment, special education, asthma, ADHD, and poverty, and cites selected policies on IAQ, IPM, green cleaning, and high performance design. The report concludes “all children should be considered at risk of health and learning difficulties due solely to unaddressed or unexamined environmental health risks in their schools and the lack of public health services for children at risk or with suspected exposures.” The recommendations target the need for swifter federal and state actions to address children's civil rights and justice concerns.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Environmental health sciences
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe poor environmental conditions of PK-12 public schools; Compare selected state policies. Analyze lack of services for children.

Keyword(s): Child Health, Environmental Exposures

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Founder and executive director of Healthy Schools Network, Inc. a 501c3e not for profit environmental health research, technical assistance and advocacy group that has won state and federal laws. Researched, published guides and reports in peer-reviewed APHA sessions and in journals on risks to children's health and safety at school. Authored APHA policy #200010 on Creating Healthy School Facilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.