This site has limited support for your browser. We recommend switching to Edge, Chrome, Safari, or Firefox.

Brain Fog: How Classroom Air Quality Affects Student Performance

The Relationship Between Air Quality and Performance

There has been mounting evidence that suggests there is a significant relationship between the air we breathe and our performance and productivity. An abundance of studies suggest that improved air quality increases overall productivity and significantly improves performance in both adults and children when it comes to information recall, concentration, and other mental tasks. Furthermore, individuals’ perceptions of indoor air quality may even affect their productivity. Research has found that improved perceptions of, or satisfaction with, indoor air quality are associated with improvements in work performance. This information not only rings true in the professional world but also in the academic and educational realm. 

Image of student experiencing brain fog in class due to poor indoor air quality

Interestingly, air quality may play an even bigger factor in the performance of younger students due to their increased vulnerability to environmental hazards. Because young students are still developing, they may be at a greater risk to be negatively affected by environmental conditions in school. Implementing an indoor air quality management plan should be a key part in any development strategy for schools and educators that take their students and employees health and performance seriously. 

Poor Air Quality and its Effects on Students 

Many students suffer from health conditions that are affected by poor air quality. Most notably, asthma affects about 1 in 12 children between the ages of 0-17. Every year, 1 in 6 children with asthma visit the emergency department with about 1 in 20 being hospitalized. Even though asthma hospitalizations have been on the decline, it is still one of the leading causes of absenteeism in schools.

Image of nurse helping student with asthma

Asthma attacks can be caused and triggered in many different ways including exposure to allergens such as tree, grass, or weed pollen, dust mites, animal dander, smoke, chemical fumes, and even strong odors. Creating a clean classroom environment could reduce the amount of irritants in the air that often trigger attacks. Reduced attacks result in less absenteeism in schools from the nearly 6 million school-aged children in the United States with asthma.

How Does Air Quality Improve Student Performance? 

Poor air quality in the classroom doesn’t just affect students with asthma but all children and young adults. Most schools' ventilation rates are below recommended levels. A poorly maintained school environment can both cause or even intensify health issues in students, teachers, and faculty. These illnesses result in higher rates of absenteeism for both students and teachers. Reduced time in the classroom for students, and teachers being away from their students has a negative impact on the academic performance of students. Ensuring adequate ventilation and air quality in the classroom can:

  • Reduce the total number of absences from the classroom
  • Diminish the transmission of infectious disease and sickness
  • Enhance the overall health of students, teachers, and other faculty
  • Provide students with the healthiest environment to learn which will increase test scores and student performance

Image of happy students in class with clean air from the WYND Max Air Purifier and Halo

Classrooms that have better air ventilation rates score 14 to 15 percent higher on standardized test scores when compared to classrooms that had a lower quality of air ventilation rates. It is abundantly clear that student health is directly related to student performance. In order to provide the best environment for our students and teachers, schools must implement a plan to monitor their indoor air quality for the health of their students and faculty. 

Implementing an Indoor Air Quality Strategy for Schools 

Oftentimes, schools make the mistake of seeing maintenance budgets as something to cut without impacting core academic program needs. However, the scientific literature suggests that the maintenance of a school's environment plays a very big role in the health of students and faculty. Studies have shown that well-maintained schools have better student performance and higher test scores. A clean classroom is a healthy classroom and a healthy classroom provides an adequate working environment for students to perform at their highest level.

Image of classroom with good indoor air quality from WYND Purifiers and Halo Air Quality Monitor

A structured school maintenance program is essential for the success of any academic institution and managing indoor air quality should be a foundation of any ongoing school maintenance program. WYND provides an abundance of tools and comprehensive guides and studies on how to optimize your indoor air quality and keep your classroom free of air irritants. Many higher learning institutions such as MIT, The University and Montana, and Northern Arizona University, rely on WYND to ensure healthy classrooms which enable their students and faculty to feel safe and perform. WYND Products such as the WYND Halo will monitor the air quality of the classroom and instruct WYND’s WYND Max Purifiers to clean the air within a space up to 1,200 sq ft. Implementing an indoor air quality strategy for your school is a must for student and faculty health and success.

To learn more about WYND and getting WYND products into your classroom for your students and teachers, please visit the WYND for Schools Page

Stay in Control,
Anywhere You Go

Experience Sentry's comprehensive smoke and noise monitor with real-time alerts

Recent Articles