Healthy Schools Initiative

The once-in-a-century COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the massive amounts of upgrades, resources, and organizing needed to create safe and healthy learning and working environments for students and school staff. MassCOSH’s Healthy Schools Initiative builds successful coalitions between teachers, school staff, and community partners to combat environmental and medical health hazards, replace toxic chemicals with safer ones, and improve building conditions in schools and daycares across the state. 

Our Healthy Schools Initiative engages parents, students, school staff, unions, and environmental health allies to assess building conditions and take action at individual schools and districts that will improve the health and wellbeing of those who use them. Through advocacy, education, and technical assistance, MassCOSH and its’ partners advocate for resources, policies, and standards to support green and healthy conditions for all schools. 

Efforts to achieve these goals have included: 

  • Serving as a major stakeholder in the Coalition to Safely Reopen Schools to advocate for the safe operation of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic using data and science. 
  • Conducting school building walkthroughs with Boston Public Schools and providing technical review of data collected by school leaders, nurses, custodians, parents, and high school students throughout 105 schools on indoor working and learning conditions.  
  • Advocated for standards for a minimum number of nurses at schools and documented the many ways these valuable professionals improve school health. 
  • Training volunteers to become Healthy Schools Champions who take action through environmental school audits, identifying asthma triggers and other unhealthy conditions that can be eliminated. 
  • Involving teen students as stakeholders for safe and healthy schools by training them to document unhealthy levels of heat in classrooms and school buildings. 
  • Serving on the PILOT Action Group to demand large nonprofits that rely on essential city services pay a modest amount of taxes to the City of Boston to create new funds that could improve the condition of school buildings badly in need of repair.  

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