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J Sch Health. 2012 Mar;82(3):139-46. doi: 10.1111/j.1746-1561.2011.00677.x.

Comparison of indoor air quality management strategies between the school and district levels in New York State.

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Bureau of Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology, Center for Environmental Health, New York State Department of Health, Troy, NY 12180, USA.



Good school indoor air quality (IAQ) can affect the health and functioning of school occupants. Thus, it is important to assess the degree to which schools and districts employ strategies to ensure good IAQ management. We examined and compared the patterns of IAQ management strategies between public elementary schools and their school districts in New York State.


District-level information obtained from surveys of district facilities managers in 326 districts was described and stratified by district size and socioeconomic status. School-level information obtained from surveys of head custodians in 770 elementary schools was then compared with the district-level information in 241 districts.


About 47% of participating school districts reported having a district-wide IAQ program, with a large range in the prevalence of specific IAQ management strategies. Airing out newly painted areas was the most commonly reported (92%) and having a classroom animal policy was the least commonly reported (29%). Larger districts and districts with a district-wide IAQ program were more likely to report certain IAQ strategies than other districts. Elementary schools and their districts were most likely to report airing out newly painted areas (76%). The most common area of disagreement was construction after hours (50%). The top strategy not reported at either level was having an IAQ coordinator (53%).


Many school districts lack key IAQ management strategies, and differences exist between district-level policy and school-level practice. Districts and schools should work together to formalize and expand existing IAQ policies and inform stakeholders about these strategies.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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