Woodbridge School District Director of Business Services Recognized
In recognition of National Healthy Schools Day on Tuesday, April 5th, the State is encouraging Connecticut school districts to take steps to promote healthy environments in Connecticut schools.
Connecticut law requires every school district to adopt and implement an indoor air quality program that provides for the maintenance and improvement of the indoor air quality of its facilities. School districts are also required to implement a green cleaning products program for cleaning and maintaining school buildings and facilities.
“Indoor air quality impacts
students’ health and ability to learn. Fortunately, Connecticut has a number of
important school indoor environmental quality laws and programs to protect the
health of school children and staff,” said Dr. Raul Pino, Commissioner of the
Department of Public Health (DPH). “Our Tools for Schools program helps schools
comply with these laws, and focuses on many low-cost or no-cost solutions which
address factors that contribute to poor indoor air quality, such as air
pollutants or poor ventilation.”
A consortium of 24 agencies and organizations in Connecticut formed the Connecticut School Indoor Environment Resource Team (CSIERT) in 1999. This group, with leadership from DPH, assists schools and school districts with implementing and sustaining the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) IAQ Tools for Schools (TfS) program throughout the state.
The TfS program is a team-based strategy to improving IAQ in school buildings. A building-based team of administrators, teachers, maintenance staff, parents, and others investigates and prioritizes indoor air hazards to develop short and long-term strategies to solve IAQ problems. DPH, along with its CSIERT partners, provides comprehensive training for these teams. Since 2000, TfS has been implemented in over 925 schools across the state.
This year, CSIERT is honoring Alfred Pullo, Jr., Director of Business Services & Operations for the Woodbridge School District, as this year’s Connecticut IAQ Tools for Schools Hero for his work in the district. Mr. Pullo launched the Tools for Schools (TfS) initiative approximately four years ago, at the request of the Woodbridge Superintendent of Schools. Under Mr. Pullo’s leadership, the Woodbridge School District has built a comprehensive and effective TfS program, with practices that have been useful to programs statewide. These include:
Expanded TfS teams that include the school medical advisor, QVHD health inspector, science teacher, kitchen supervisor, and facilities manager.
Annual calendar of the committee including scheduling of meetings, walk-throughs, and action planning sessions.
Written follow up letters to each staff member thanking them for allowing inspections of their classrooms, confirming findings, and listing any corrective action items for follow up. This practice is now recommended to all TfS teams statewide.
Annual presentations to faculty and the Board of Education highlighting the work of the committee as well as their findings and actions taken as a result of findings.
Mr. Pullo will be honored at an awards ceremony on April 5, 2016 at the Beecher Road School in Woodbridge, CT.
National Healthy Schools Day is a national movement to improve schools’ indoor environmental quality, as it adversely impacts predominantly women and children. School environments play an important role in the health and academic success of children. Each school day, 55 million children and 7 million adults — 20 percent of the total U.S. population and 98 percent of all children—spend their days inside school buildings.
Unhealthy school environments can harm occupants’ health and hinder learning, affecting attendance, concentration and performance, as well as leading to costly, time-consuming cleanup and remediation activities for schools. Addressing school indoor environmental quality issues is an important part of the overall strategy to reduce the impact of asthma in our state. Reducing asthma triggers in schools is part of a coordinated asthma management program.
For more information about Connecticut’s Healthy School Environments program, go to www.ct.gov/dph/schools.