Green Seal and Healthy Schools Campaign Announce National Standard for School Facilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

June 2, 2021

Green Seal and Healthy Schools Campaign Announce National Standard for School Facilities

Draft standard prioritizes low-cost measures; open for public comment through July 17th.

Washington, D.C. and Chicago, Ill. -- Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Green Seal today released for public comment a draft Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Standard that prioritizes measures that make a significant difference in indoor air quality without major capital investments.

The draft standard, which is the first of its kind in the nation, was designed in partnership with the award-winning school facility directors on the Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Steering Committee. It will be the centerpiece of a comprehensive program designed to support school facility management professionals in transforming the health and sustainability of school campuses.

“School facility management professionals are vital stewards of school environments, but they often lack proper funding and resources for the essential work they do caring for students and staff,” said Doug Gatlin, CEO of Green Seal. “This national standard is a key part of our commitment to providing schools with the resources and network to ensure a quality of school facility that every student in America deserves.”

“The way that schools manage their facilities speaks to how they value their students, staff, and surrounding communities,” said Rochelle Davis, President and CEO of HSC.  “The Healthy Green Schools & Colleges program is designed to be accessible to any school or university that wants to improve. It offers them the tools they need to evaluate their current performance and design their path to safer and healthier facilities without major capital investments.”

The pandemic has made creating healthy school environments an urgent national priority and brought to light the significant under-investment in school facilities nationwide. However, even before the pandemic, nearly half of U.S. schools reported indoor air quality problems that put the health of students and staff at risk. 

Unhealthy indoor air, inadequate ventilation, and chemical exposure from cleaning and maintenance routines continue to present systemic challenges in school districts. On top of health concerns, these issues are linked to poor concentration and test performance in students, adding preventable barriers to achievement.

Schools have a rare opportunity right now to focus on their facilities. The American Rescue Plan and 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act provided tens of billions for American schools, including funds that can be used for health- and sustainability focused facility upgrades.

The science-based Healthy Green Schools & Colleges Standard is geared toward K-12 school districts and higher education institutions and designed to be accessible for schools across the spectrum, whether they are just getting started exploring environmental health and sustainability improvements or are already a leader.

The standard is the centerpiece of a comprehensive program designed to support school facility management professionals. A self-assessment tool will allow schools to objectively measure their current indoor environmental health and sustainability performance, while guidebooks, trainings and other tools will help them determine and take their next steps. Then, a points-based scoring system will encourage schools to keep improving at their own pace, with support from a network of facility management peers across the country who are on a similar journey.

Schools that reach the top level of achievement will be able to apply for third-party certification, earning public recognition for their verified expertise in providing healthy school environments.

Learn more about the standard and submit public comments through July 17th here.

About Healthy Green Schools & Colleges

Healthy Green Schools & Colleges is a partnership between the Healthy Schools Campaign (HSC) and Green Seal, combining HSC’s extensive experience working with leading school facility directors and Green Seal’s globally recognized credibility in science-based standard development. Healthy Green Schools & Colleges provides school facility leaders nationwide with resources to transform the health and sustainability of school and university environments. The multifaceted program includes education, certification standards and implementation guidelines; a network to accelerate the adoption of best practices, and recognition of the leaders who achieve success. Learn more at healthygreenschools.org.

About Green Seal

Green Seal® is a global nonprofit organization with a mission to transform the economy for a healthier, greener world. Since 1989, Green Seal has applied rigorous standards for health, environmental sustainability and product performance to its certification programs to empower better purchasing decisions. Green Seal has certified thousands of products, services and spaces from hundreds of leading companies including 3M, Ecolab, Georgia Pacific, Hilton, Westin, Marriott and Staples, and is specified by countless schools, government agencies, businesses and institutions. Today, the Green Seal certification mark is a universal symbol that a product or service meets the highest benchmark of health and environmental leadership. Visit greenseal.org.

About Healthy Schools Campaign

Healthy Schools Campaign is an independent nonprofit built upon the common-sense belief that every child deserves a healthy school. Through community engagement, political advocacy and education programs, we work together with parents, teachers, administrators and policy makers to change schools for the better. Our work focuses on individual schools as well as district, state and national change. Our programs focus on the many aspects of the school environment, including nutrition, school design, indoor air quality, physical activity, wellness and green cleaning practices. By making schools healthier, we can improve children’s health, well-being and readiness to succeed—for life. Learn more at healthyschoolscampaign.org.