It’s Not the Pollen Count That’s Making You Miserable

By: Joseph Albright
Sep 14, 2016 4:20 PM ET

Do you blame the pollen count for your coughing, sneezing and stuffy nose? Do you track the pollen count and stay indoors on heavy pollen days? I hate to tell you, but the quality of air inside of buildings, where people spend about 90 percent of their time, is even more important to your health. Ironically, according to the EPA, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted—and in some cases up to 100 times more polluted—than outdoor air. This is a significant issue in schools, where exposure to allergens, such as dust mites, pests and molds can trigger asthma symptoms.

Obviously, indoor air quality has an immense impact on the Quality of Life of students and staff as it directly impacts the learning environment. Allergens, chemicals and other pollutants are common in schools and they affect the health, comfort, attendance and performance of students, faculty and staff. Asthma is one of the most common serious chronic childhood diseases, affecting more than 6 million children, and contributing to more than 10 million missed school days.

To address this, Sodexo, the world leader in Quality of Life Services, is ensuring that all of our directors of facility management (FM) in the K-12 schools we serve across the U.S. have completed the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Master Class Professional Training Series. Sodexo is the first and only contract services company to fully recognize the importance of the EPA training to ensure that all of our facility directors are ideally equipped to manage indoor air quality in schools. The Sodexo facility directors who have completed the entire IAQ Master Class Training Series represent nearly 80 percent of all FM professionals who have completed the EPA training series to date.

The training focuses on ventilation, particulate suspension, filtration and other aspects of indoor air quality. As experts in quality of life and stewards of the learning environment and student well-being, this differentiates Sodexo as the only contract management organization whose FM managers complete the Master Class Professional Trainings and endorse the EPA’s IAQ Tool Kit for Schools.

And, not only have the Facilities Directors completed the training, so have 117 additional employees who were not asked to complete the 10-part series but did so anyway to broaden their knowledge and ensure Quality of Life for the students we serve. That’s our team spirit and service spirit at its best!

Joseph Albright is the Vice President of Technical Services in K12 Schools for Sodexo North America. He is responsible for quality management, safety management, development of process standards, training and development, and performance management. Colonel (R) Albright served with distinction for 28 years in the United States Army as an Ordnance Officer and Logistician.