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School Environmental Health and Safety Program

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Bureau of Environmental Health, Indoor Environments Section houses the School Environmental Health (SEH) Program.  This program works to improve the environmental health of Ohio’s schools through non-regulatory means. More than 1.75 million children and 100 thousand adults across Ohio spend their days in K-12 schools1. A growing body of research strongly supports the importance of school environmental health to both the educational success and overall health and well-being of Ohio's school children and staff. "Poor environmental conditions can thwart academic progress by making it harder for students to concentrate, causing or exacerbating illness in students and staff, increasing absences and lost work days, and diverting school funds to pay for costly repair and remediation projects2."

On the other hand, improvement in school environmental conditions can have significant positive impacts3,4,5,6,7. In one study "children in classrooms with higher outdoor air ventilation rates scored 14 to 15 percent higher on standardized tests than children in classrooms with lower outdoor air ventilation rates8."

In addition to wellness and the advancement of the core educational mission, attention to environmental quality can improve the financial health of Ohio's schools. In a study of classroom ventilation rates (VRs) and student illness absences in California elementary schools, researchers estimated that "increasing classroom VRs from the California average (4 l/s-person) to the state standard would decrease illness absences by 3.4 percent, increase attendance-linked funding to schools by $33 million annually, and increase costs by only $4 million9."

OSHEN (Ohio Schools' Healthy Environment Network) Click on OSHEN Registration button to join the communications network consisting of Ohio schools, major educational organizations, and other interested stakeholders throughout the state.
OSHEN Registration
Equipment Calibration:
Local health departments who wish to have their carbon dioxide meters calibrated can do so by shipping the devices to ODH.  The devices must be shipped in a manner in which they can be tracked and sent to the mailing address contained on this page.

If you have questions, please contact program staff using the information listed below.

Mailing Address:
Ohio Department of Health
School Environmental Health and Safety Program
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Telephone: (614) 466-1390
Fax: (614) 466-4556

E-mail: SEH@odh.ohio.gov

Page Updated:  1/30/2015