Poor indoor air quality is a problem that continues to plague Connecticut schools, affecting students, educators, and staff and leads to reduced student performance, lost learning time, and workers’ compensation claims.
CEA recently sent letters to all members of Connecticut’s Congressional Delegation asking for help in securing federal funds to help school districts update and repair outdated HVAC systems as well as install air conditioning in the nearly 300 Connecticut schools that do not have air conditioning.
The letter from CEA President Kate Dias states, “The need for updated HVAC systems in schools has never been greater. In Connecticut, parents are increasingly relying on schools for summer and extended learning. Yet at the same time, climate change presents hotter and more humid conditions that favor mold, and outdated HVAC systems increase exposure to the risks of airborne illness. CEA strongly urges you to proactively address this urgent need by targeting federal funds for air quality in schools.”
CEA also recently submitted comments to the United States Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration as part of OSHA’s rulemaking process regarding temperatures in work settings. With the letter to Connecticut Congressional Delegation members, CEA attached comments asking OSHA to address temperature limits in schools. Any standards produced by OSHA would extend to Connecticut’s public work settings, such as schools.
“While American Rescue Plan funds could have been allocated to address heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, we have learned that school districts have generally neglected to set aside funds for such purposes,” Dias wrote. “As generous as the federal funds are to assist with pandemic-related recovery, the costs of HVAC repair and installation are beyond the reach of most communities.”