Improving Teacher Retention Through Indoor Air Quality: A Win-Win for Superintendents

By Lindsey Haglage, Vice President of Business Development for Protect|ED

In the face of an ongoing teacher shortage crisis, it is essential to explore innovative strategies to enhance teacher retention. While various factors contribute to these challenges, one often overlooked aspect is quality of a schools’ indoor air quality. It has a significant impact on teachers’ health, well-being and overall job satisfaction. Prioritizing air quality can become a crucial solution for improving teacher retention and improving attendance in the classroom.

Numerous studies including research from the United Federation of Teachers, have indicated that poor indoor air quality has a direct negative impact on human health and cognitive function. Just as clean indoor air has been shown to improve test scores for students, likewise, having access to purified air helps teachers improve concentration and even may eliminate that 2pm headache so many educators are familiar with. Additionally, teachers spend a significant portion of their day in classrooms, which can lead to various other health issues such as respiratory problems, allergies and fatigue. Ultimately, teachers who are regularly exposed to pollutants in their indoor air typically experience increased sick leave, lower morale and even higher burnout rates.

A healthy learning environment is crucial for both students and teachers alike. When teachers feel their health and safety are prioritized, they are more likely to be present, motivated and engaged in their roles, ultimately benefiting student success. 

Below are three practical solutions to enhance a schools’ indoor air quality…

#1: Indoor Pollutant Control 

Implement measures to control common indoor pollutants such as mold, dust, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Filters help, but they do not do enough to protect the wellbeing of our teachers. They need a long-term air purification solution, backed by the medical community, to provide them with a healthy, safe environment that is conducive to learning.

#2: Adequate Ventilation

Proper ventilation is key to ensuring a continuous supply of fresh air while reducing the concentration of airborne contaminants. Consider installing energy-efficient mechanical ventilation systems to enhance air circulation.

#3: Regular HVAC Maintenance

Ensure that heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems are well-maintained, cleaned and regularly inspected. Properly maintained ventilation and filtration systems are critical to remove airborne pollutants and maintain a healthy indoor environment.

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