School Siting: EPA Releases New Draft Voluntary Guidelines for Selecting Safe School Locations

 

The EPA has released draft guidelines for school siting--guidelines that take into account such factors as whether children can safely bicycle and walk to the new schools, and amount of traffic and congestion that will be caused, and other factors:

More than 53 million children and about 6 million adults spend a significant portion of their days in more than 120,000 public and private school buildings. Many of these buildings are old and in poor condition, and may contain environmental conditions that inhibit learning and pose increased risks to the health of children and staff. The healthy school environments web site is designed to provide one-stop access to the many programs and resources available to help prevent and resolve environmental issues in schools.

EPA has released new draft guidelines to help communities protect the health of students and staff from environmental threats when selecting new locations for schools.  The new draft voluntary guidelines will help local communities consider environmental health issues in establishing school site selection criteria and in conducting effective environmental reviews of prospective school sites.  The draft guidelines recommend involving the public in the site selection process from the beginning to help ensure community support for these decisions.   

EPA developed the draft guidelines in consultation with other Federal agencies, states, school districts, community organizations, health care professionals, teachers, as well as environmental justice, children’s health and environmental groups, among others.

The draft school siting guidelines are being made available for public comment for 90 days. Comments will be accepted until 4 pm EST on February 18, 2011.

See the announcement of the new guidelines here and https://qrisguide.acf.hhs.gov/.