Environmental Health Policy
It is the policy of Challenge Charter School to provide a healthful education environment, free of pesticides and other pollutants. Chemicals and chemically-laden material will be considered toxic and not allowed or used on site until proven safe. Biological contaminants, such as bacteria and mold, will be considered hazardous and, therefore, abated. Indoor air quality, along with other environmental factors in and around the school, affects the health, performance and productivity of all occupants. Children are more susceptible to environmental hazards; and the biochemistry of each person is unique. Accordingly, the Environmental Health Policy must be inclusive to ensure the provision of an optimum school environment that is healthful for all occupants and conducive to the learning needs of all students.
- Pesticides and their use are prohibited on school premises. A system of integrated pest management shall be employed to monitor, prevent, suppress and eliminate pests without using any pesticides.
- Smoking of tobacco is prohibited on campus. Signs prohibiting smoking shall be placed at the main entrances of the school building.
- Cleaning and maintenance of the school and furnishings is to be done using safer, non-toxic products that are least odorous (e.g. baking soda, vinegar, Bon-Ami, borax, Basic H and I). A solution of water and up to 10% chlorine bleach may be used for disinfecting purposes.
- Use of aerosol sprays is prohibited inside the school.
- Soap, toilet paper and tissue must be fragrance-free. Use of conventional air fresheners and aromatic deodorizers is prohibited.
- All school and art supplies must be non-toxic and fragrance-free. No scented stickers, permanent markers, or other solvent-based products are to be brought or used on campus. Correction fluid may not be used in classrooms or other areas when students are present.
- Science experiments requiring chemicals, or using any odorous materials, shall be restricted to a designated area adequate exhaust ventilation. Alternatives for chemistry class and other lab activities will be made available upon parent request to any students with allergies and/or chemical sensitivities.
- Use of perfume, cologne and other scented personal products
(e.g. hair care products, soaps, lotions, deodorants) is prohibited
inside the school building. Signs to this effect shall be
posted outside the entrance doors. Anyone wearing fragrance
products is prohibited from entering the school beyond the front
office reception area.
- Any occupant who noticeably smells of fragrance, smoke or other chemical odors is to be sent to the front office reception area where appropriate actions(s) will be taken to remedy the situation.
- In the case of students, parents will be notified and summoned to school if a scented personal product must be removed from a child’s body. The student may not return to the classroom or regular education environment until the fragrance or chemical odor has been removed.
- Any questionable items are to be sent to the school office for assessment.
- The chemical composition of new furnishings, supplies (e.g. paints, adhesives, caulking compounds) and construction materials shall be carefully considered before purchases are made. Donated items must be carefully screened. Safe sealers may be applied on plywood and other furnishings to minimize the outgassing of chemicals (e.g. formaldehyde, organic hydrocarbons).
- To control the presence of chalk dust and minimize its accumulation, blackboards are to be cleaned only with a damp cloth while students are not present. Only white chalk may be used in classrooms. Blackboards and chalk may be replaced with white boards and odorless, water-based markers.
- When purchasing textbooks and other books, preference will be giving to those that have soy ink print on acid-free paper, and older, used books. If new and odorous, books can be spread open and baked at 100 degrees Fahrenheit for at least five hours and then aired out. This procedure helps diminish odors of ink and paper chemicals. Use photocopies, as opposed to dittos, whenever possible.
- Controlled ventilation with exhaust fans will be installed in all specially designated rooms that house printing, copying and lamination equipment.
- Routine vacuuming of the carpet shall be done either before or after regular school hours when classes are not in session. Until HEPA and/or Nilfisk GS 90 Allergy Vacuums can be acquired by the school, donated vacuuming equipment will have to be used and retrofitted with more efficient dust bags to best prevent the transferring of particulates into the air.
- The heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems shall be properly maintained, serviced and upgraded in accordance with the Indoor Air Quality Management Plan. modifications will include retrofitting the systems with high efficient filters or comparable filtrations.
- Installation, use and maintenance of air purifiers shall be done according to the specifications described in the Air quality Management Plan.
- Educational programs for students, parents and staff will be provided so that the whole school community becomes more aware of environmentally-related health, behavior al and learning problems.
- In-service training of teachers will include instruction on:
- how to recognize environmentally-related health, behavioral and learning problems in children
- identifying potential causes of environmentally triggered illness (ETI) in relation to symptoms and learning disabilities
- prevention and management of ETI, and accommodating the special needs of any affected individuals, using a multi-disciplinary team approach