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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14(11), 1397; doi:10.3390/ijerph14111397

Climate Change and Schools: Environmental Hazards and Resiliency

1
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY 10029, USA
2
Health & Society, Wageningen University, 6708 PB Wageningen, The Netherlands
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 September 2017 / Revised: 4 November 2017 / Accepted: 11 November 2017 / Published: 16 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Children’s Environmental Health)
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Abstract

The changing climate is creating additional challenges in maintaining a healthy school environment in the United States (U.S.) where over 50 million people, mostly children, spend approximately a third of their waking hours. Chronic low prioritization of funds and resources to support environmental health in schools and lack of clear regulatory oversight in the U.S. undergird the new risks from climate change. We illustrate the extent of risk and the variation in vulnerability by geographic region, in the context of sparse systematically collected and comparable data particularly about school infrastructure. Additionally, we frame different resilience building initiatives, focusing on interventions that target root causes, or social determinants of health. Disaster response and recovery are also framed as resilience building efforts. Examples from U.S. Federal Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and nationally are used to illustrate these concepts. We conclude that better surveillance, more research, and increased federal and state oversight of environmental factors in schools (specific to climate risks) is necessary, as exposures result in short- and long term negative health effects and climate change risks will increase over time. View Full-Text
Keywords: school environment; built environment; environmental health; children; students; health effects of climate change; vulnerability; adaptation; mitigation; disaster preparedness school environment; built environment; environmental health; children; students; health effects of climate change; vulnerability; adaptation; mitigation; disaster preparedness
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Sheffield, P.E.; Uijttewaal, S.A.M.; Stewart, J.; Galvez, M.P. Climate Change and Schools: Environmental Hazards and Resiliency. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2017, 14, 1397.

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