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Healthy Buildings & Systems

Our students and educators deserve school environments that have optimal ventilation and air quality and are free from health and safety hazards.
looking into two classroom doors from a school hallway with orange walls and blue lockers

A wide variety of health and safety hazards pose risks to educators and students in educational settings. Educators’ working conditions are students’ learning conditions. Staff and other members of the community can play a crucial role in recording, reporting, and resolving such hazards by conducting building walkthroughs of indoor spaces. 

The National Education Association (NEA) created the building walkthrough toolkit (coming soon) to improve the health and safety of students and staff however, it is still an employer’s fundamental responsibility to provide a safe and healthy environment.

Measuring CO2 in indoor spaces, like classrooms, can—when done properly—serve as a screening tool to determine when ventilation in that space needs further investigation and potential improvement.  NEA created a document to provide guidance on what to look for in CO2 monitors; explain how to effectively use them and interpret the results, and outline cautions when using results to make decisions about IAQ. 

Clean Air

school staff shortages covid

Indoor Air Quality Plans in Schools

We’ve designed both a comprehensive document and a short guide to assist local leaders, staff, and members to create an indoor air quality plan as part of an overall COVID-19 mitigation strategy.
school cafeteria food shortages

How to Evaluate Building Ventilation Using Carbon Dioxide Monitors

Guidance on what to look for in CO2 monitors; explains how to effectively use them and interpret the results; and outlines cautions when using results to make decisions about IAQ.
teacher with classroom raising hands

Ensuring Safe and Just Schools: Ventilation

This document highlights the CDC’s key measures “essential to safe delivery of in-person instruction,” which includes improving ventilation as part of maintaining healthy facilities.

Healthy Schools Roadmap

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the interdependence of health and learning and the need to increase alignment and coordination across health and education systems. It also created a historic opportunity to build systems that better serve the whole child and their educators. 

The National Healthy Schools Collaborative, a group of nationally recognized organizations working in health and education including the National Education Association, has developed a 10-Year Roadmap for Healthy Schools to inspire communities to build on the work they are already undertaking to meet this moment. 

Learn more and download the roadmap

Environmental Justice

The NEA recognizes that people of color and low-income communities suffer the most from the devastating impacts of pollution and climate change, and the union is committed to advancing climate and environmental justice.  

NEA President Becky Pringle served as a key commissioner on K12 Climate Action, and the group of education leaders developed an action plan to outline the needs and opportunities for the education sector to take action toward environmental justice. 

This is only the very beginning of our work. In the coming year, NEA efforts around ensuring climate and environmental justice for all students is going to expand and grow — we can’t wait to get to work. 

https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/environmental-justice-why-we-should-teach-it-and-how-get-started 

https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/5-ways-teach-about-climate-change-your-classroom 

green schools

Green Schools, Now!

NEA Today spoke with several educators who are teaching students to be climate savvy and build a greener, more just future.
students protesting for environmental protections

Environmental Justice: Why We Should Teach it and How to Get Started

People of Color and low-income communities often suffer the harshest consequences of pollution and climate change, but future educators are starting now to bring climate action into classrooms.
kid drawing of earth and a separate drawing of fire

5 Ways to Teach About Climate Change in Your Classroom

As the Earth heats up, so does educators' approach to this vitally important topic.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.