Air Quality Testing in Schools

Resolution Number: 

2010-02
Resolution

WHEREAS there is no specific schedule in place to ensure that air quality in Prince Edward Island Schools is monitored on a regular basis; and

WHEREAS it is not sufficient to test schools on a rotating basis which could result in any school being monitored once every five years, or approximately only 11 schools out 60 schools tested each year; and

WHEREAS the air quality of a school may only be tested, and given priority, if complaints are received; and

WHEREAS overcrowding is a current problem in some Island schools which may affect air quality, and with the introduction of kindergarten into the school system in September 2010, even more space will be utilized by children and some schools are simply not designed for the number of children that utilize them; and

WHEREAS schools promote the importance of healthy living to students in the form of proper nutrition and exercise education, and it is equally important to ensure that there is good air quality in the school environment at all times where our children learn; and

WHEREAS during the winter season, air quality should be tested when doors and windows are closed for long periods of time; and

WHEREAS some schools may not have the resources required to ensure that proper cleaning practices are carried out, and if a school is not being properly cleaned, because of lack of resources, this will affect air quality; and

WHEREAS Prince Edward Island School Boards currently do not have the resources (dollars and staff) required to carry out air quality testing and implementation of required changes if needed, as often as they should;

BE IT RESOLVED that the PEIHSF request the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to provide the proper resources (dollars and staff) required for regular air quality testing to be carried out two times per school year, once in the Fall of every school year (October/ November) and once during the winter months (January/ February) in every Island school.

Consideration

Status: 

Passed
Saturday, April 17, 2010

Destination: 

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
English Language School Board
French Language School Board
Responses Received

Responses: 

Education and Early Childhood Development:  The Department works closely with school boards to adequately resource the operations of Island Schools. School boards have agreed on a protocol regarding indoor air quality monitoring, ventilation system cleaning, and heating system cleaning.  Each school has in place an occupational health and safety committee that meets regularly to review any issues that arise at a particular site.  Concerns raised by the school level occupation health and safety committees are departmental staff to address issues.  The Department will continue to work with school boards to ensure that concerns around indoor air quality are addressed.

Eastern School District:  The Eastern School District shares the concern of the PEIHSF with indoor air quality in our schools.  Our focus has changed from being reactive to indoor air quality test results to being more proactive - prevention poor indoor air quality.  Regular air quality testing is only one tool to evaluate the school's ari quality.  It takes many weeks to conduct indoor air quality testing, evaluate the testing results, prepare the report, communicate the findings, implement the recommendations and to do follow-up testing.  History shows the indoor air quality reports all have similar concusions:

1)  The need for better housekeeping practices by all users of the building. 
2)  The need for building occupants to understand factors that effect poor indoor air quality and what they can do to improve indoor ari quality.  3)  The need for a preventative maintenance program that addresses issues prior to indoor air quality complaints. 
4)  The need for trained and active Joint Occupational Health an d Safety Committees at each school.

We would support the request for additional funding from the Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development to provide more training for Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees and additional staff resources to provide the training and follow-up.

Western School Board:  This resolution has been referred to Joan Moore, the staff person responsible for Occupational Health & Safety in all Island school, for a formal response on behalf of the three school boards.