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Spotlight On Maintenance: Guide Targets K-12 Facilities
Maintenance managers looking for guidance in streamlining their department’s operations have new resource to guide their efforts. The National Center for Education Statistics at the U.S Department of Education (DOE) has published the 184-page Planning Guide for Maintaining School Facilities. The publication is designed by the School Facility Maintenance Task Force to help readers understand how to develop, implement and evaluate a plan for K-12 facilities maintenance.
Chapters include topics on developing a maintenance plan, conducting facility audits, providing a safe educational environment, maintaining school facilities and grounds, managing staff and contractors, the role of maintenance staff during construction and renovation, and evaluating the facilities maintenance mission.
Via checklists, sample interview questions, survey forms and additional resources, the guide’s developers aim to help readers better understand why and how to develop, implement, and evaluate a facilities maintenance plan by focusing on:
- school maintenance as a vital task in the management of an education organization
- the needs of an education audience
- strategies and procedures for planning, implementing, and evaluating effective maintenance programs
- a process to be followed, rather than a canned set of “one size fits all” solutions
- recommendations based on best practices, rather than mandates
The guide is available free as a PDF file. Paper copies are available from the DOE by calling (877) 4ED-PUBS.
Health Lessons: Report Documents Lead and Pesticides in Schools
Health hazards in school environments are receiving new attention, thanks to a new report on the effect of the environment on children released last month by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
America’s Children and the Environment: Measures of Contaminants, Body Burdens, and Illnesses addresses environmental factors related to the health and well-being of children in the United States. Sections of interest to education maintenance managers address lead contaminants found in California schools and exposure to pesticides in Minnesota schools. The report cites studies that determined childhood exposure to lead can contribute to learning problems such as reduced intelligence and cognitive development, and can increases the risk for antisocial and delinquent behavior. The EPA’s report, prepared in conjunction with the California Department of Health Services, found lead in nearly 40 percent of all California schools sampled.
The EPA also profiles pesticide-use findings from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture in its report. Survey respondents included 47 percent of school custodians who reported spraying pesticides as needed in the classroom. The Minnesota findings also detected indoor pesticide concentrations potentially hazardous to children weeks and months after application.