State health officials recognize IUSD for its attention to indoor air quality

The Irvine Unified School District has been named a recipient of the 2012 Achievements in Respiratory (AIR) Health Awards for indoor air quality by a division of the California Department of Public Health.

In an announcement sent out this week, the agency’s California Breathing program said it was “very impressed” with the district’s efforts to improve indoor air quality and create asthma-safe environments for students and staff. IUSD was one of three districts to secure the honor, joining Oak Park Unified and Fresno Unified.

“This award serves to validate the work of our maintenance, custodial, grounds, construction and facilities teams, which constantly strive to exceed the highest standards of environmental health,” said Joe Hoffman, IUSD’s director of Maintenance and Operations. “We have always recognized that the physical environment is a critical component of learning, and recent research has underscored the connection between air quality, absenteeism and academic performance. From our perspective, nothing is more important than ensuring our students study and play in spaces that are clean, safe and conducive to learning.”

IUSD was specifically lauded for developing a “comprehensive and well-conceived approach” to maintenance and operations with policies and practices that draw from many of the best available environmental health resources. Scott Kessler, programs manager for California Breathing, also noted in a follow-up email that the district was “committed to the most rigorous and up-to-date standards for construction and maintenance of school facilities,” including those established by the Collaborative for High Performance Schools, Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design and the U.S. Green Building Council.

Along with a trophy, which is scheduled to be presented at a Board of Education meeting in June, IUSD will receive $5,000 to continue its indoor air quality improvement efforts.

California Breathing is a program charged with implementing strategies tied to the California Department of Public Health’s Strategic Plan for Asthma in California. For more information, click here.