FAQ Air Monitors

Frequently Asked Questions regarding air monitors on Jefferson County Schools’ (JCS) Property

Q: Where are the air monitors located?

A: There are two monitors on JCS properties. One has been placed on the campus of North Jefferson Elementary School (NJE), the other on the campus of T.A. Lowery Elementary School (TALES). The monitors are being operated by Environmental Resource Management (ERM), a provider of environmental, health, safety, risk, and social consulting services.

 

Q: Does the Jefferson County Board of Education operate the air monitors?

A: No, JCS and the JCBOE have no oversite of the air monitors or ERM, except for a memorandum of understanding (MOU) put in place to allow the monitors to be placed on school property.

 

Q: What data is being collected by the air monitors?

A: It the understanding of JCS that ERM has been contracted as a third-party environmental consultancy to assess levels of formaldehyde, methanol, and phenol.

 

Q: Will the public have access to the information gathered by the air monitors?

A: Yes, the information collected by the monitors will be shared every quarter, which is when ERM will also conduct maintenance and calibrations of the air monitoring equipment at both sites, along with a quality review of three months of data in line with the EPA guidelines. Following every quarter, that quality-assured data will be made available to the public on the air monitoring webpage: https://emisapps58.erm.com/jeffersoncounty/index.html# The first quarterly report is planned for early April.

 

Q: Does JCS have a plan in place if the air monitors report dangerous levels of any given substance?

A: There are school-specific crisis plans in place for all schools in Jefferson County. Those plans take into account the physical surroundings of each school building, including the types of nearby business and residential structures. The data collected by the air monitors will not offer real-time evaluations of pollution levels; however, JCS has taken proactive steps to help keep students safe, including the establishment of a protocol should the Air Quality Index (AQI) released by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicate a public health risk.
The protocol includes the following steps:
1. Limiting all outdoor activities.

2. Shutting off all external air intakes.

3. Communicating with officials at the Jefferson County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency management and the Jefferson County Health Department to determine how great the risk may be.

4. Educating staff and students regarding potential risk factors associated with an unfavorable AQI reading.
The safety plans for both individual schools and the county contain specialized response protocols in the event of any immediate threat to student safety.  

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