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NEW B<sup>2</sup> logoHow to Participate in the Breathe Better (B2) Program

B2 is a flexible program that can be tailored to meet any school's needs.

To start B2 at your school, contact:
breathebetter@dhec.sc.gov
S.C. DHEC Bureau of Air Quality

Program Essentials
  • kidsbreathehere_sign.PNGChoose a faculty or staff member to sponsor the program.
  • Determine the level of participation appropriate for your school and enroll here.
  • Post "No Idling" signs at your school and adopt a no idling policy for all vehicles (including buses, parents, staff, and visitors).
  • Get students involved in your chosen air quality activities!
Participation Levels
Platinum

+ 3 (or more) activities

Gold

+ 2 activities

Silver

+ 1 activity

Bronze

1 activity

  = Vehicle counting activity required
Levels of Participation
 All participants in the B2 Program are asked to adopt an anti-idling policy as well as to post "No Idling" signs. DHEC can supply your school with signs at no cost as well as provide guidance on creating a school policy.

Beyond that essential step, there are four levels of participation for the B2 Program. Three levels include a vehicle counting activity to track the effectiveness of your anti-idling campaign and all levels include at least one additional school-wide air quality activity of your choosing.

Reference the table to determine the best level of participation for your school. Activities are described below.

Vehicle Counting Activity

Count the number of idling cars and buses at your school before and after implementing your anti-idling policy. This is a simple way to track how effective the policy is. Twice a school year, have students count the total number of vehicles (cars and buses) at after school pick-up and the number of each of those types of vehicles that are idling. Submit your baseline count information online by September 30 and your final count information by June 1 (or May 1 if you are a Green Steps School).

Additional Air Quality Activities

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Participate in the Air Quality School Flag Program

Students learn about the Air Quality Index (AQI) then look it up daily and fly the appropriate colored flag. DHEC has a limited quantity of flags available to schools at no cost. Flags can also be purchased from vendors or hand-made.  Alternatively, the flag can be displayed virtually on a school message board or on a school's daily TV show. You can also display our desktop Air Quality Forecast signs. For more information about the Flag Program contact  breathebetter@dhec.sc.gov or check out the Flag Program Website.


Participate in Bus Driver Pledge - COMING SOON

Use the Bus Driver Pledge Card, sourced from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, or write your own pledge.

Incorporate Air Quality Curriculum

Teach an activity from our Resources page, or an air quality lesson from Action for a Cleaner Tomorrow. If you have another activity or lesson idea, let us know so we can discuss with you and ultimately share it with others.

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Display "No Idling" Banner

DHEC can provide your school with a free "No Idling" banner to display along with your "No Idling" signs (while supplies last).

Implement Air Quality Improvement Project

Students at D.W. Daniel High School in Central, SC held a car maintenance and tire inflation event and won a DHEC “Spare the Air” award. A 2nd grade science club in Maryland redesigned the school carpool line to make it more efficient. What can you and your students do to improve air quality? 

Plan Walk to School or Bike to School Event

Walking and biking can be fun, healthy, pollution-free transportation. There are many ways to participate; students could walk or bike TO school, FROM school to a nearby destination, or AT school.  Visit the South Carolina Safe Routes to School Resource Center for more information.


Develop and Maintain an Environmental Club

An environmental club can encourage students to live more sustainably both in and out of school. The club could serve as  a "Clean Air Patrol," helping with vehicle counting and distributing air quality and idling information to parents. For more ideas, check out this guide. Club activities could also count toward other Green Steps projects.


Hold an Air Quality Project Contest

Ask students to illustrate how they can help keep the air clean through a poster/art contest. Past projects have published winners' images in calendars or on larger posters.

Install Air Quality Landscape Project

Plant trees next to the car pick-up line to provide shade for the drivers so that they can idle less in warmer months.

Christ Church Episcopal School planted an Ozone Bio-Indicator Garden, made up of plants sensitive to ground-level ozone. Use Clean Air Carolina’s Ozone Garden Toolkit to plan your own ozone garden!!

Reduce Vehicle Travel

Carpooling and riding the bus are among the options for reducing vehicle travel. Here are some examples of student videos promoting carpooling and school bus ridership.

Create and Manage Environmental Booth

Students can distribute environmental information through a booth at a school or community event. This would be a good activity for a school environmental club.

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Recruit New B2 or Air Quality Flag Program Participant

It could be a school, a business, or other community partner.


Other Options

Do you have a great idea for an air quality activity that we haven't listed here (or here)? Let us know!  Possibilities include tracking bus fuel usage or painting “No Idling Zone” on the school driveway.

DHEC can provide your school with educational materials to use as part of your anti-idling campaign. Students can pass them out to bus drivers, parents in the pick-up lane, or other students.

Ready to get started?

Enroll in B2!