School Building Conditions Can Impact Student Absenteeism


Running a school involves a substantial amount of upkeep. Regular cleaning, HVAC system maintenance, repairing lockers—the list of work orders goes on and on. So it’s no surprise to find out that sometimes routine maintenance and repairs can fall to the wayside. However, it’s been suggested that school building conditions may directly impact student absenteeism.

Is there any merit to this claim? And if so, what do school officials need to know to keep student absenteeism down and school building conditions high?

Dirty Truth about Student Absenteeism

A 2010 study published in the American Journal of Public Health found a positive correlation between student absenteeism and the conditions of the school building. In fact, the worse condition a school is in, the higher student absenteeism will likely be.

One of the leading causes of short-term absenteeism is asthma, which can easily be triggered by poor air quality or negative building quality.

To keep students healthy and reduce the number of absences, it’s vital for school officials to maintain regular cleaning and maintenance procedures, not to mention use high-quality materials in the building’s design.

School Building Conditions to Monitor

Having your maintenance or cleaning staff keep a careful eye on building conditions is an important step in reducing the frequency of student absenteeism. However, there are specific areas that are more likely to be a threat than others.

The gym locker room for one can be prone to quick deterioration if left unchecked. Metal lockers have a tendency to rust due to the high level of moisture. That same moisture can also cause mold or mildew to form. Plus, if the room isn’t ventilated properly, high humidity and offensive odors can significantly impact the facilities indoor air quality.

School Building Conditions

To stay on top of such threats, cleanings should be carried out regularly, and alternatives to metal lockers should be considered. High-density polyethylene (HDPE), for example, is naturally resistant to rust as well as mold.

Using HDPE to Combat Student Absenteeism

HDPE isn’t new. Actually, it’s been around since the 1950s. Today, the durable plastic is used in a variety of applications, including school lockers. These plastic lockers have color throughout, so there’s no need for repainting, or danger of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

More than just for lockers, HDPE has also been used to create bathroom partitions. Not only do they resist rust, but the partitions also resist the spread of bacteria and can even deter graffiti and other acts of vandalism.

If your school’s bathroom or locker room is still using metal fixtures, it might be time to think about remodeling.