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It’s Elementary: IAQ Management and Monitoring Matter in Schools

September 28, 2021


How important is the air inside your school? Air quality and performance in schools have long been a concern, especially since there are more than 56 million K-12 students1 in America who spend, on average, 1,000 hours in school each year2.

Even well before the global pandemic, researchers reported that maintaining proper indoor air quality (IAQ) can help reduce absenteeism, affect test scores, and enhance student and staff perceptions of productivity3. According to a literature review published in 2005 in Indoor Air Journal4, evidence suggests that poor indoor environmental quality (IEQ) in schools is common and adversely influences the performance and attendance of students, primarily through health effects from indoor pollutants.

To help safely reopen and sustain the safe operation of schools, the U.S. federal government has unleashed unprecedent funding that can be used to optimize IEQ in schools5. Yet, where to begin?

Take a holistic, human-centric approach
Much like the educational process, the building wellness process starts with an assessment. As part of its Wellsphere human-centric, holistic approach to building wellness, Trane can help you evaluate your building’s IEQ and mitigate any challenges. The work doesn’t stop, however, once you’ve achieved your goals. You’ll need to continue to both monitor and manage the indoor environment to ensure you maintain your success. Here are some ways you can accomplish that:

  1. Visual, in-room devices to monitor IAQ - Small, wireless in-room devices which measure contaminants and conditions in the air can be easily installed to provide you with a visible digital, color-coded air quality score and tips on how to improve it.

  2. Systems that monitor and help manage IAQ- When integrated with Trane controls, a monitoring and management system can collect critical data about your building’s air and environmental quality and automatically adjust air flow between indoors and outdoors, increasing ventilation when needed to optimize air quality

    A Johns Hopkins study published earlier this year6 reports that “Improved ventilation may give children and school staff healthier indoor air quality for decades in the future, providing a healthier environment for non-pandemic times and potentially reducing risks in future infectious disease outbreaks.

  3. A team at-the-ready to help - An ongoing service plan can help ensure that you have a knowledgeable team at the ready to proactively address any unexpected IEQ challenges. 

Start today to make sure that you are optimizing, managing and maintaining your academic environment – now and for the future. 

1 Hanson, Melanie, Feb. 20, 2021, “K-12 School Enrollment & Student Population Statistics

2 Riser-Kositsky, Maya, Jan. 3, 2019, Education Statistics: Facts About American Schools

3 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, How Does Indoor Air Quality Impact Student Health and Academic Performance?

4 Mendell, Mark J., Heath, Garvin A.; 2005, Indoor Air Journal, vol. 15, p. 27032, Do Indoor Pollutants and Thermal Conditions in Schools Influence Student Performance? A Critical Review of the Literature

5 Jordan, Phyllis W., What Congressional Covid Funding Means for K-12 Schools, FutureEd., June 27, 2021,

6 Johns Hopkins study published earlier this year, Paula J. Olsiewski, Richard Bruns, Gigi Kwik Gronvall, William P. Bahnfleth, Gunnar Mattson, Christina Potter, Rachel A. Vahey, May 26, 2021, “School Ventilation: A Vital Tool to Reduce COVID-19 Spread,” The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security