Climate change and schools: Environmental hazards and resiliency

Perry E. Sheffield, Simone A.M. Uijttewaal, James Stewart, Maida P. Galvez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The changing climate is creating additional challenges in maintaining a healthy school environment in the United States (US) 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 US 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 US Federal Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the US 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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1397
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number11
StatePublished - 16 Nov 2017


  • Adaptation
  • Built environment
  • Children
  • Disaster preparedness
  • Effects of climate change
  • Environmental health
  • Health
  • Mitigation
  • School environment
  • Students
  • Vulnerability


Dive into the research topics of 'Climate change and schools: Environmental hazards and resiliency'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this