Are the physical conditions of your building unsafe or unhealthy? Is the environment of your school building substandard?
Download this form to report the environmental conditions of your classroom and school. The BTU and MassCOSH (Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health) will be able to help you identify the next steps to improve the physical and environmental conditions of your school. The form also contains useful classroom environment tips.
Once you have completed the form, give it to your building rep or bring it to the union hall and the Organizer or one of the Field Reps will be sure to follow up with you.
Avoid using chemicals. Use only “approved 3rd party certified” non-toxic cleaning products. Don’t bring in your own bug spray; it’s against the law. Use odorless, water-based markers and art supplies. Chemicals can be respiratory irritants.
Do make sure your air vents are working and not blocked with books and supplies. Locate the vents in your room “sometimes under a window. Keep furniture a few feet away from air vents — so air can flow. Report dirty or noisy vents.
If you have students with known allergies or asthma you should avoid bringing pets into the classroom. Pets with fur or feathers have dander which are significant allergic asthma triggers.
Be aware that plants have spores and their soil can breed mold. These are allergens.
Create a “crumb- and spill -free” classroom with an eating and cleaning plan. Store extra food well, in a lid tight container. Have a designated “covered” trash can for food garbage. Crumbs and liquids attract pests. Report any signs of pests in the integrated pest management IPM log.
Reduce classroom clutter such as paper and old classroom projects you aren’t using. They collect dust and harbor pests. Include students in activities such as clean-ups and recycling to promote school pride and environmental stewardship.
Report water leaks as soon as they appear. Mold can grow if wet places don’t dry within 48 hours. Your school has a work order system to report and track needed repairs.
These facts were developed by the MassCOSH Healthy Schools Initiative. For more information on managing asthma and improving indoor air quality in your school, contact Tolle Graham or Al Vega at MassCOSH.