Preparing healthy, green classrooms with COVID-19 in mind

Published on: 
20 Jul 2020
Phoebe Beierle

New research on the novel coronavirus underscores the importance of a building’s indoor environment in helping prevent the virus’s spread. This is an especially critical factor when it comes to our 131,000 U.S. schools being able to safely open and operate.

Working with old infrastructure and uncertain budgets, school systems are doing their best to clean and upgrade equipment to reduce the spread of COVID-19. In addition to updates throughout the school, the way each classroom is managed by staff and students can have a profound impact on the conditions in that space. The Center for Green Schools at USGBC developed the Green Classroom Professional Certificate (GCP) to equip teachers and school staff with background knowledge about operating a green and healthy building, as well as how to be champions for better indoor conditions.

Green Classroom Professional Certificate user quote

The unprecedented move to close schools in early 2020 was done to protect the health of the most vulnerable. As schools reopen their doors, the health of students, staff and teachers must continue to be the focus. Training for building occupants on how best to operate a healthy and safe school should be part of every district’s reopening plan.

The self-paced, interactive online course is designed to help users make healthy choices in learning spaces. It provides facts about healthy school conditions, interactive visuals of what that looks like in practice, follow-up resources, practice quiz questions and action tips. The course breaks down the different aspects of building sustainability in 12 modules, several of which directly relate to reducing the risk of COVID-19.

For example, in Module 5: Indoor Environmental Quality—Air Quality and Module 6: Indoor Environmental Quality—Green Cleaning, participants learn about the importance of:

  • Understanding how a classroom ventilation system works,
  • Disinfecting with asthma-friendly products,
  • Decluttering, and
  • Partnering with facilities staff to ensure proper maintenance of mechanical systems.

Check out the GCP to learn how you can play a role in protecting yourself and your students and in keeping your classroom safe—today and well into the future.

Sign up for the Green Classroom Professional Certificate