One of the most basic promises of a school building is that it will provide a safe environment where students and teachers can focus on learning. Very simply, the school environment should not put students’ health at risk. But what happens when schools fall into disrepair and no longer fulfill that promise?
This weekend, CNN will bring much-needed attention to the issue of indoor air quality in schools, exploring the ways this widespread and often overlooked problem affects kids’ health and their long-term academic success. In this segment, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta will visit schools across the country to examine the impact of poor indoor air quality.
Check out this behind-the-scenes preview:
For the past several years, HSC has partnered with Critical Exposure and the 21st Century School Fund to present Through Your Lens, a photo contest and exhibit in which students and teachers share photos of their school buildings. One of the most striking impressions from the photos is that so many schools need so many basic repairs to address issues -- from leaky roofs to moldy walls -- that affect the quality of the air students and staff breathe every day.
While this is a massive issue, it’s one that is often overlooked -- especially at budget time. The national backlog for this type of school repair is estimated to be in the range of $200 billion, a number that’s expected to grow as states and school districts face shrinking budgets and postpone facility repairs rather than cut classroom budgets.
What can you do? We encourage you to join us in leveraging this opportunity to make a difference in the air children breathe in our nation’s schools:
- Watch CNN’s segment this weekend and join the conversation online. It will air this Saturday, January 14 at 8 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST, and again this Sunday, January 15 at 8 p.m., 11 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST. Then raise your voice to tell CNN and the online community how important this issue is. You can share your reactions via Twitter (to @cnnpresents or @sanjayguptacnn) or online at www.CNN.com.
- Tell Congress to fix schools in need of repair as part of its jobs-creation effort. The Fix America’s Schools Today (FAST) Bill would provide funding for much-needed school repairs while creating jobs in sectors especially hard-hit by the economy. Learn more and send a letter to your Senators and Representative at www.fixamericasschoolstoday.org.
- Check out student and teacher photos in Through Your Lens. This striking collection of images shows the reality of schools in need of repair; it also shows the potential of safe, healthy schools that support learning, including many older buildings that have simply been well-maintained over the years. See the photos at www.throughyourlens.org.
Safe, healthy indoor air is a simple and fundamental part of a good learning environment. We’re looking forward to the segment this weekend and applaud CNN and advocates across the nation who are working to bring attention to this critical issue.