Can Indoor Air Quality Impact Student Performance?

Protecting the world from infectious disease

An increasing amount of indoor air quality (IAQ) research has led us to an undeniable conclusion that – if not properly managed – it can significantly affects productivity and cognitive function. Undoubtedly, unhealthy and uncomfortable environments can be major distractions from focusing on work.

Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a critical factor affecting student performance.

Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Schools, in particular, are often known for their aging infrastructure that can give way to mold growth from leaky roofs, HVAC system issues, and improper cleaning procedures that do more harm to the respiratory health of children, educators, and staff than good. 

Asthma and allergies – two health conditions that are not strictly reliant on poor indoor air quality to propagate, have already been linked to increased absenteeism and reduced academic performance. Because indoor air pollution possesses clear links to adverse health outcomes, factors like decreased attendance and graduation rates depict accurate links to the effects of poor IAQ. 

What Factors Increase Poor Air Quality?

Unsurprisingly, schools without significant HVAC maintenance backlogs possess higher daily attendance rates than schools with a large backup in their maintenance plans – reflecting the reality of poor ventilation and other mechanical systems that keep students and staff healthy and focused. 

Air quality factors like ventilation rates and levels of temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide (CO2) reflect a parallel reality – higher ventilation rates result in higher standardized test scores while cooler temperatures and modest humidity conditions have discernable, positive impacts on addition, multiplication, and sentence comprehension skills.

The EPA further cites that almost 80% of teachers that responded to a survey in Chicago and Washington D.C. felt that school facility conditions were an essential factor in teaching quality – reflecting the overall importance of good indoor air quality to the education system. 

How Can You Improve IAQ in Schools?

School leaders can proactively take steps to protect the performance of both students and teachers by monitoring and managing the air quality inside of their buildings, as well as the performance of their HVAC systems, to increase productivity and performance and prevent the spread of airborne diseases, which can also factor into the costs of absenteeism.

However, many school officials charged with establishing IAQ health and safety protocols are tasked with choosing from solutions, which in many instances, are misleading, overpriced, ineffective, or incomplete. 

SAST iAQ Pro™ is a unique, holistic approach to IAQ management that can improve the health and wellbeing of occupants and reduces costs associated with absenteeism and lost productivity.