Healthy Schools Initiative

Creating healthy school communities

The economic crisis has impacted schools and the people who occupy them: school staff and children are working and learning in schools with fewer custodians, and deferred maintenance and capital repair budgets are years behind actual needs. This crisis contributes to an increase in asthma and other health conditions, which disproportionately harms low-income and urban communities.  Furthermore, we lack adequate resources and enforcement to abate and monitor toxic hazards such as asbestos, PCB’s or from environmental hazards in schools built on landfills or near industrial pollutants. In a national report Toward Healthy Schools 2015 –  it states that all public and private school children should be considered at elevated risk of health and learning difficulties due to the unexamined and or unaddressed environmental health risks in their schools.

Through advocacy, education, and technical assistance, MassCOSH’s Healthy Schools Initiative (HSI) engages parents, students, school staff, unions, and environmental health allies to assess building conditions and take environmental health action at individual schools and districts. Through state and national coalitions, MassCOSH and its’ partners advocate for resources, policies, and standards to support green and healthy conditions for all schools.

Organizing Locally

School-based or District-wide: HSI brings together parents, staff unions, and administrators in School Environmental Health Committees which assess and prioritize environmental health and safety conditions, using the EPA's IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit as a model.

Campaigns and Coalitions: HSI links school-based teams throughout a school district with local campaigns and coalitions to promote environmental safety and health policies and strategies for healthier schools.

Mobilizing State-wide

HSI coordinates a statewide network of school staff and public health allies and leaders together to advocate for school environmental health and safety policies, regulations, and technical assistance to change the way schools are designed, built, and maintained in Massachusetts.

Organizing Nationally

HSI links Massachusetts healthy schools advocates with national campaigns for healthy schools and efforts to increase federal resources and guidance to States that actions to ensure all schools are environmentally safe and healthy.