Between the COVID-19 relief bill passed in December and the American Rescue Plan passed in March, the Federal government has approved a total of $176 billion for K-12 schools in recent months.
These funds have been allocated to help schools reopen safely and to address inequities that have been highlighted by the pandemic. The bills include funds for facilities-related expenses, with the intention of improving the physical environment of our school buildings and creating healthier, greener and more sustainable schools for our children. This offers schools a huge opportunity to invest in their facilities and the future of their students’ education.
What Facilities-Related Expenses Are Included?
Some examples to use funds for facilities are:
- Developing school preparedness plans for future long-term closures
- Including easily sanitized products and classroom furniture
- Upgrading school building lighting and color enhancements that entice creativity and wellbeing
- Assessing facility conditions and planning for upgrades
- Upgrades to HVAC systems and ventilation to improve indoor air quality
- Facility upgrades to meet ADA and CDC requirements
The one-time nature of these funds makes them ideal for investing in durable facility improvements that provide long-term health benefits and financial savings for schools and districts. Making smart choices for facility improvements now means spending less on operations and utilities in the future.
View how one NYC school used EverPanel to create new learning spaces in unused or communal areas to assist with social distancing:
What is the Definition of a “Green” School?
The U.S. Department of Education, through its Green Ribbon Schools program, defines a “green” school as one that:
- Reduces environmental impact and costs.
- Improves the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff by promoting a healthy physical environment.
- Provides effective sustainability among classroom and school design.
Creating schools that meet these criteria is not only good for the environment, it can improve the health of students, teachers, and staff. Schools that are accessible, well-lit, well-ventilated, comfortable, and equipped with modern technology result in better education for students. And the improved energy efficiency of schools equipped with green systems, furnishings, and building materials results in ongoing budget savings for school districts.
EverBlock and EverPanel are Considered Green Building Products
Because of their versatility, EverBlock building blocks and EverPanel wall panels can be used and reused time and time again. They are designed to be 100% reusable and reconfigurable, not to mention durable enough to last a lifetime. Plus, EverBlock products meet all standards for material safety for both children and adults. They are non-absorbent, easily cleaned, and won't leak harmful chemicals. They are chemical and weather resistant (use them indoors or out!), contain UV inhibitors to prevent color fading, and meet UL94HB flammability standards. For these reasons, EverBlock products are considered green building materials.
EverBlock and EverPanel can help schools meet the first element of green schools listed above: reducing environmental impact and costs.
Our building blocks and walls can help school districts save money while reducing their environmental impact by giving them endless ways to reconfigure their spaces over many years of use. Blocks or panels that are purchased now to help divide space for better social distancing can be used later to build additional flex space in gyms and cafeterias, create quiet study areas or creative learning spaces for students, and so much more. There are quite literally hundreds of ways to use EverBlock in the classroom!
EverBlock Helps Schools Create Green Environments While Also Engaging Students in Learning
In addition to being a durable, green building material, EverBlock building blocks also act as a creative medium of expression, fostering an environment of creative play and learning in the classroom.
EverBlock products offer a hands-on, fun, and educational way to brighten up the classroom and keep kids engaged in interactive educational learning programs—especially STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs. STEAM programs promote a collaborative, hands-on approach to learning that sparks interest in these subjects and prepares students for successful careers in these fields. In addition to providing a fun aesthetic,
EverBlock building blocks give kids the chance to explore principles of design, engineering and math in an engaging way. They help students learn how to think in 3 dimensions and develop their problem solving, critical thinking, organizational, planning, and team building skills...all while having fun in the classroom! The blocks are lightweight enough for even small children to work with easily, yet sturdy enough to build full-scale weight-bearing structures.
As your school determines how to use its allocated American Rescue Plan funds, consider investing in products that not only improve the health safety of students and staff and result in cost savings for your school, but those that provide learning opportunities for students as well.
EverBlock products can do all three. Contact us today to learn more about using our building blocks and walls to create a healthier, greener school, lower your long-term costs, AND keep your students engaged in learning.