“Given the significant amount of time a child spends in school, it’s important to ensure a healthy learning environment so that children can reach their full potential,” adds Dr. Maida Galvez, a preventive medicine and pediatrics professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
With an estimated 13 million missed school days in the United States due to asthma each year, says Galvez, “we need to critically look at our schools and what the school environment says about how we value education and most importantly, how we value our children.”
Until last November, children at Spain Elementary-Middle still played in one-half of the gym, says Lakia Wilson, but when the aroma became overwhelming, they switched to walking through halls to satisfy their physical education requirements.
“It used to be that they could go outside in warmer weather on the playground,” she tells PEOPLE, “but now the playground has a steam geyser coming from the ground, so it has been closed as well to prevent kids from getting burned.” [Bold added]
—Cathy Free, “Detroit’s Public Schools Are in Crisis: Students and Teachers Deal Daily with Rats, Mold and No Heat” in People