On June 18, NYS IPM Program staff met with a diverse group of people and organizations to develop a comprehensive effort to ensure that every child and school employee in the state have safe and healthy learning and working environments. The last of four meetings over a two-year period, the interaction was organized by the NYS Department of Health under an EPA grant. Partners came from several state agencies, the US EPA, schools, BOCES districts, and school stakeholder NGO’s.
According to the draft New York State Clean, Green, and Healthy Schools program plan, the goals will include:
- Eliminate or reduce health risks from environmental hazards to occupants of all school environments;
- Eliminate school environmental health and safety disparities;
- Improve attendance among students and staff; and
- Improve academic achievement and other educational outcomes for all students.
These goals will be addressed by four action priorities.
- Priority Area A: Promote policies and best practices to manage environmental issues in all school environments. Included in this priority is the prevention of pests and reduction of pesticide use and exposure through Integrated Pest Management.
- Priority Area B: Create, maintain and disseminate educational materials appropriate for the school community.
- Priority Area C: Develop and sustain partnerships among all stakeholders.
- Priority Area D: Strengthen organizational infrastructure and resources to promote and support environmental health.
This program will be a collaborative effort among all the partners involved. The kick-off event for the program will be a statewide school environmental health meeting to be held in the Albany area in October, which is Children’s Health Month.