As a way to ensure school facilities stay in good shape, the Delaware Department of Education (DOE) has released new digital tools and resources to help school districts review and assess facility conditions in a standardized way.
According to the DOE, the new facility assessment tools will help identify areas in need of attention, so that school facilities are clean, safe, and functional for staff and students. The state said DOE worked with experts in school facilities maintenance, the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), district superintendents, the Delaware State Education Association, and the Delaware Association of School Administrators to develop the new tools and resources.
The state explained that the facility assessment tools will be provided to districts to begin assessments. The assessment tools allow for basic school information, including address and building size, to be confirmed or updated so DOE information is complete and accurate. The tools provides a guide of areas and conditions to be assessed to help determine if specific areas of a facility are in good repair. Additional parts of the assessment help districts evaluate building system age and useful life and provide insight into modernization efforts at each school.
In terms of implementing the new assessment tools, DOE said that it will continue to provide technical support in their use, and will meet with district facility leadership this month to review the tools, answer questions and ensure that districts have the support necessary to implement the assessment.
As a result of recently signed legislation, DPH is also in the process of establishing a routine indoor air quality monitoring program and temperature and humidity standards for schools. The legislation also requires DPH to create a contractor certification program for indoor air quality services and procedures for receiving and reporting indoor air quality complaints in schools.
To meet the legislative requirements, DPH has developed a webpage for school administrators, facility staff, and the general public. The site includes guidance documents for facility staff regarding temperature and humidity standards, how to develop indoor air quality monitoring programs, and water sampling requirements. Additionally, the page provides resources from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and free training webinars. There will also be a complaint portal coming soon for parents, staff, and students.