District News

Different kind of air testing coming to Salem

Posted on: March 2, 2018
Photo of clouds

When wintry weather keeps students and staff inside for weeks at a time, it’s no wonder that some eagerly look forward to those first warm days of spring.

And with those extended periods of indoor time for thousands of students -- in the midst of cold and flu season -- indoor air quality is something that Little Miami Local Schools takes seriously. Whether it is something as large as keeping heating and cooling systems in good repair, to something as small as choosing the right dry erase marker, the district looks at many ways to keep indoor air quality high.

For example, Salem Twp. Elementary Assistant Principal Jamie Miles helped start a “Tools for Schools” team at her building, named for an indoor air quality program developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Salem team is made up of teachers from each grade level who gather staff input about the building’s environment and seek ways to improve it.

The team has already had a positive impact. For instance, the maintenance department heard staff concerns regarding air filters in classroom heating units, and custodians have increased the frequency in which filters on the units are cleaned.

In other areas of the district, the maintenance department has begun other clean air initiatives as well, including custodians using new HEPA-filtered backpack vacuums for cleaning, using microfiber towels and dust mops that trap dirt and dust, and changing to more environmentally-friendly cleaning products.

At Salem, the Tools for Schools team’s next phase of improving air quality is to look at ventilation in the building. During the week of March 5, Stacy Do, an industrial hygienist with EcoPure, will be testing air quality in some Salem classrooms. The testing device is about the size of a smartphone and will collect data on airflow, helping pinpoint areas that may need improvement.

“We know our buildings are a home-away-from-home for students and staff. It is important to us to provide a safe, comfortable and productive environment for them,” said Superintendent Greg Power. “I appreciate the work the Salem team has done, and because of them, we will be implementing Tools for Schools teams in our other buildings.”

More information about Tools for Schools can be found here: https://www.epa.gov/iaq-schools