EMA Member Al LaPera, CxA, EMP, LEED WELL, TLC Engineering Solutions published “How to Create a Healthy Learning Environment” in the FacilitiesNet.

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Prior to March of 2020, the idea of creating a healthy learning environment had a completely different connotation Then the COVID-19 pandemic occurred, and the facilities landscape completely changed. Most facility managers are at least passively familiar with terms such as ASHRAE, IES (Illuminating Engineering Society), Fitwel, and WELL Building Standard. But now, new terms had to be added to their lexicon, including the CDC, American Society of Microbiology, and NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Health and Safety).

In July 2020, as Florida Polytechnic University undertook a project to begin navigating these uncharted waters, facility managers there began focus on a new important concept for them: health and wellness.. These were clearly uncertain times, as the university was rightfully concerned, trying to decide the safest way to bring back not only students but facility and staff. However, amid those most concerned regarding the students were their parents.

During the first meetings, a two-phased approach was discussed. Phase 1 would be a campuswide building assessment using the newly developed WELL Health & Safety Rating, as well as newly developed environmental and air quality criteria from ASHRAE, CDC, and more.

This new WELL Health and Safety Rating protocol has eight basic tenants. The team decided to focus on the first three.

  1. Promote Clean Contact
  2. Improve Air Quality
  3. Maintain Water Quality
  4. Manage Risk and Create Organization Resilience
  5. Support Movement and Comfort, Including Working from Home
  6. Strengthen Immune System
  7. Foster Mental Resilience
  8. Support Community Resilience and Recovery

Phase 2 of the approach was to…

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