PRESS ADVISORY: National Healthy Schools Day - Build Back Better Schools

Stonger Collaborations Needed to Address COVID and Climate Impacts and to Ensure Clean Air in Every School
ALBANY, N.Y. - March 29, 2021 - PRLog -- This year's National Healthy Schools Day on April 6 comes at a critical juncture: the nation is working to recover and stabilize from the continuing COVID-19 pandemic, reopen all schools, and address the growing crisis caused by climate impacts – impacts that hit the most disadvantaged communities and their schools the hardest. Schools urgently need to rebuild better after years of institutional and facility neglect.

For two decades, healthy schools advocates have stressed the importance of clean indoor school environments. Now, with schools reopening after a year of missed learning for too many children, poor air and water quality, misuse of toxic disinfecting products, no infection control plans, and aged ventilating systems are all challenges to staying fully open. They are critical challenges and enormous opportunities to Build Back Better.

"Thanks to the Biden Administration and the passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP), two-year emergency funding is available to schools to improve Indoor Air and address other environmental health hazards. One-hundred million dollars is also available to US EPA to assist states, communities, and schools with their chronic indoor and outdoor air, water, sanitation, and related infrastructure problems," said Claire Barnett of the New York-based national Healthy Schools Network.

The pandemic revealed a shocking lack of coordinated tactions to reopen schools. Today, advocates are calling on the Biden Administration to help schools and children by creating a first-ever Interagency Task Force on Environmental Quality of Schools to consider federal K-12 and child care priorities, strategies, and resources to ensure that all school buildings, especially those in the poorest communities, are ready for the next disaster. Healthy Schools Network is releasing a report of its January 2021 national Summit "COVID, CLIMATE, CHILDREN, AND SCHOOLS" to spur the creation a national strategy.

Former US EPA Administrator and New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman, Co-Chair of the Aspen Institute's K-12 Climate Initiative who provided opening remarks at the Summit, said: "We have a unique opportunity to help our children, our environment, and build back better by recognizing the opportunity our educational system offers us. From the actual school structures themselves to the lessons in and out of the classroom, this report lays out a path forward that can benefit everyone in a community."

Coverage of the Summit report is embargoed until April 6, 2021. Pre-release interviews with Summit speakers are encouraged.

As in previous years, activities to reinforce the National Healthy Schools Day messaging will take place in schools, communities and cities across the country. A growing list of planned activities is available here:

Healthy Schools Network
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Tags:COVID, Climate, Children
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