Clean, Green, & Healthy Schools: Special Audiences


Administrators, including superintendents, school board members, and principals, are decision makers and leaders for their school(s) and/or district(s). This puts them in an ideal position to become informed on the health, academic, and financial benefits of a school environmental health program, such as the New York State Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools Program. Support by administrators can empower schools to make environmental health a priority. School environmental health resources that could be useful to school administrators are listed below.

Food Services Staff

School food services staff play an important role in improving school environmental health. Each day, every student in the school will make their way through the cafeteria and eat their lunches, making food service practices relevant to all students. Activities that take place daily, such as food preparation, distribution, and cleaning can impact pest presence, moisture and ventilation control, and the need to use green cleaning. For example, properly storing food and cleaning up food areas will help with pest control, addressing moisture problems will help reduce mold formation, and practicing green cleaning can reduce asthma and allergy triggers. Resources for food services staff to use to improve their school environmental health can be found on this page.

Green Cleaning

Pest Management



  • Ensure Good Ventilation. Component 4 from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) "Five Key Components of a School Environmental Health Program" that provides schools with guidelines to ensure good ventilation.


Maintenance/Custodial/Facilities Staff

Custodians, maintenance, and facilities staff have a profound impact on students and other school occupants every day. Their day to day operations, from fixing leaks to cleaning floors, impacts the environment where school occupants learn and work. For example, properly maintained classrooms and buildings can lead to fewer asthma attacks among students and teachers. Custodians, maintenance, and facilities staff are on the frontline in efforts to improve school environmental health, and they are involved in almost every aspect of school environmental health in some way. This is why enhancing their knowledge and awareness is so important. Custodians, maintenance, and facilities staff should refer to the “Topics” section of these webpages for resources on the many areas of school environmental health that they can impact. In addition to those resources under “Topics,” the resources listed here are specifically tailored toward these staff.

Nurse/Medical Director/School Based Health Center Staff

School-based health professionals play an integral part in the health and well-being of students and staff. When considering environmental health issues, school nurses and school-based health center staff can play a primary role in the detection of various indoor air quality problems that can lead to illness. Repeated or common health complaints that align with environmental health issues and/or frequent asthma/allergy triggers can be signs that the school's environmental health needs attention. In addition, nurses and school-based health center staff are key communicators between the child, parents, physician, and teachers with regard to students' health conditions and how to manage them. School environmental health resources that could be useful to school nurses/ medical directors/ school-based health center staff are listed below.


Parents/guardians want what is best for their children. School aged children spend a significant amount of time in the school setting, which may pose various health risks if the school does not follow good environmental health practices. Learning about school environmental health can empower parents/guardians to advocate and encourage schools to adopt policies to improve school environmental health. School environmental health resources that could be useful to parents/guardians are listed below.


Students spend a long time in school each day, which is why it is so important to make schools as healthy as they can be. All the different areas of the school, including classrooms, hallways, gyms, bathrooms, cafeterias, sidewalks, and playgrounds, make up what is called the "school environment" which affects the health of people at school. Everyone who works at the school can help make the school environment healthier, and so can the students!

Students can help by learning more about school environmental health, joining or creating school environmental health clubs, and more. Teachers may even have special tasks for their students to do to help improve the school environment. If you are a student, use the websites below to learn more about school environmental health and what you can do to make a difference in your school.

  • Environmental Health Student Portal. Games, videos, facts, and more for middle school students on the National Library of Medicine Environmental Health Student Portal.
  • Games, Quizzes and More. Play games and other activities related to environmental education on this US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) webpage.
  • New York State Conservationist for Kids. A nature and environment magazine for kids in New York State from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for kids in New York State.
  • Lungtropolis. This interactive website has two different portals – a games zone for kids to learn about asthma while having fun, and a parent’s zone with helpful tips for managing asthma at home.


Teachers have a unique and important role to play in contributing to school environmental health conditions that foster optimal health in students and maintain an environment that is conducive to learning. Teachers' decisions can greatly impact school environmental health. These decisions include: 1) classroom arrangements, cleaning, and activities; 2) curricula; and 3) communicating with custodians. In addition to improving environments for students to learn, healthy school environments have been shown to increase teacher health, job satisfaction, and retention rate. On this page you will find many resources and actions teachers can take to improve their environmental health.

Curricula/Learning Materials

  • Learning and Teaching about the Environment. Access to homework resources, lesson plans, and project ideas from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to teach about the environment.
  • Green Chemistry: An Innovative Approach to Chemistry for NYS Schools. A program from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) with guidelines and resources for ‘greening’ scientific curricula by properly disposing toxic chemicals and hazardous waste, and replacing them with less hazardous, sustainable alternatives.
  • New York State Conservationist for Kids. A nature and environment magazine from the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) for kids in New York State.
  • Student Curricula. Ideas from the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on a variety of environmental health issues, sourced from their Model Program for the State School Environmental Health Guidelines.
  • New York State Radon Poster Contest. A contest sponsored by the NYS Department of Health (DOH) for children 9-14 enrolled in public, private, or home school—or through a sponsoring club or organization.

Interactive Websites for Students



Indoor Air Quality

Transportation Services Staff/Bus Drivers

The New York State Department of Transportation estimates that approximately 2.4 million students, along with drivers and bus aides, ride the bus on any given school day, many for as long as an hour or more. In addition to possible exposure to exhaust, the compact environment inside the school bus creates a unique environmental health setting for students. Green cleaning and proper vehicle maintenance will assist in creating healthier environments for the students who depend on buses for daily transportation. Resources that could be useful to transportation services staff with respect to environmental health are listed below.

  • Buses and Vehicle Idling. Brief summary by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) explaining why school buses are important in healthy school environments and what actions can be taken to improve school environmental health through buses.
  • Clean School Buses. A program run by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that helps communities and reduces emissions from older diesel school buses.
  • Green Cleaning Program. Tools and information from NYS for effective green cleaning practices leading to healthier indoor environments.
  • GreenLITES (Green Leadership In Transportation Environmental Sustainability). This NYS Department of Transportation (DOT) program encourages transportation project designs, operations, and maintenance practices to incorporate a high level of environmental sustainability.
  • Reducing School Bus Idling- Requirement and Notice Materials for School Districts.
    • New York State Anti-Idling Law.. A PowerPoint presentation by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) designed to teach about laws, regulations, and adverse effects of diesel exhaust and bus idling.
    • Idling School Buses on School Grounds. Describes the New York State Education Law requiring school districts to minimize the idling of school bus engines.
  • Pupil Transportation. Describes the safety regulations for school bus drivers, monitors, attendants and pupils. 8 CRR-NY 156.3.
  • Driving Home Safely: A Health and Safety Tip Sheet for School Bus Drivers. Information from California’s School Action for Safety and Health (SASH) Program on how bus drivers can help make their work environment safer.

Please Note

Some documents on this page are saved in the Portable Document Format (PDF). If it's not already on your computer, you'll need to download the latest free version of Adobe Reader.

If you have difficulty accessing a page, try copying and pasting the link into your web browser.