On the COVID19 Pandemic Front Line: Children and Schools
Press advisory April 7: National Healthy Schools Day and COVID19 School Closures
Annual day of advocacy for schools has never been more important
"This annual day of focus on the environmental health of our children and their schools has never been more important!" Claire Barnett, founder and executive direction of the Healthy Schools Network.
What: 18th annual National Healthy Schools Day
When: Tuesday, April 7, 2020
Where: In communities and schools across the nation
The COVID -19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of people's lives, in the United States and around the world. For millions of communities, the seriousness of the crisis became clear when schools and childcare facilities began to close. When schools reopen for the 55 million children who learn, and the 7 million adults who work in them every day, this will be the strongest signal that normalcy has returned.
What will schools be like when children and staff return? Will facilities be safe and healthy? What lessons will carry forward from this experience?
National Healthy Schools Day (NHSD) participants will call attention to the unique opportunity presented by empty schools for administrators, teachers and staff, elected officials, and parents and community members to do their part to ensure schools are safe and healthy when the time comes for children to return to their classrooms. Now is a time for delayed preventive maintenance and other unexpected opportunities to improve our children's schools.
This year, scores of NHSD participants will disseminate important information and resources on cleaning, disinfecting, and catching up on maintaining and repairing schools -- using both in-house staff and local trades -- while children are out of the building. The same efforts can be targeted at childcare centers as well.
NHSD participants will also urge Congress to support US EPA's proposed Healthy Schools/Healthy Children Grants Program, the Rebuild America's Schools Act, and other measures to support schools in the myriad roles they provide for their communities.
With most schools closed, this is the time to act for a healthier future. How can schools be healthier? What can facility workers do now to ensure fresh air, good lighting, clean water, and the use of green products that promote child health and education? How can local community partners, businesses, elected officials, and other leaders support and invest in schools to improve facilities and create jobs for local communities?
Preliminary information about NHSD is available at www.NationalHealthySchoolsDay.org. For more details, contact Coordinator Alex Naidoo. A complete list of NHSD information and related activities will be available the week of April 6, 2020 for action all week long and into the spring.
Alex Naidoo, Program Coordinator, NHSD