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School & Health: Our Nation's Investment
Physical Environment. School buildings and grounds should be clean, safe, and secure. Regulations from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and others must be followed in ensuring a safe and healthful environment. Building design should ensure adequate ventilation, lighting, noise abatement, and heating and cooling, with provisions for complying with federal Americans with Disabilities Act mandates. Environmental hazards—such as asbestos, lead, and radon—must be given attention, and school sources of pollution—science laboratories, art classes, shop and vocational classes—should be governed by appropriate policies and receive constant vigilance. Safety and sanitation measures are established, understood, and followed. Emergency disaster plans are in place and emergency drills are held periodically. Policies are in place to ensure safe transportation practices that address such transportation modes as cars, buses, bicycles, skateboards, and walking. Staff and students are made aware of safety, first aid, and infection control equipment and procedures. Buildings, equipment, and grounds are kept clean, in good repair, and free of hazards that foster infection and handicaps.
As a result of the 103d Congress considering 66 bills that referenced the "school environment" and 51 that were directed at the goal of "safe schools," the Office of Technology Assessment of the U.S. Congress was asked to prepare the report Risks to Students in Schools (Office of Technol-