Parents Weigh in on School IAQ

By Staff October 1, 2006

While industry organizations and the HVAC engineering community are certainly concerned with classroom indoor air quality, it’s not surprising that parents have an opinion on the issue as well.

Increased absenteeism, decreased concentration levels and declining academic performance—all resulting from poor school IAQ—were revealed as areas of concern for parents of school-aged children. A national survey conducted by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of Kimberly-Clark Filtration Products found that half of 476 parents polled were concerned with air quality at their children’s schools. And an even higher number, 80%, said they believe that poor school IAQ can have a direct negative effect on a child’s performance and health. In addition:

  • 70% believe a school’s poor IAQ can have a negative effect on students’ concentration levels.

  • 66% believe a school’s poor IAQ can have a negative effect on students’ academic performance.

  • 61% believe a school’s poor IAQ can have a negative effect on student attendance.

“The IAQ industry is closely watching issues relating to both absenteeism and ‘presenteeism,’ which is when people come to work or school while sick,” explained Dave Matela, Kimberly-Clark Filtration Products. “Presenteeism not only affects productivity in the workforce, it may also affect a child’s ability to learn or concentrate while in school, as our survey suggests.”

Just over half of the respondents reported that their child repeatedly complained about or suffered from from health problems during or immediately after school. And just under half said they would bring up an IAQ issue at a school board meeting or to school administrators.