Asthma-Friendly Schools – Keeping students healthy, in school and ready to learn

(May 18, 2011)

As another school year winds down, many school districts have made great strides towards creating a healthier environment for their students and staff. Schools play a consistent role in the lives of young people and can be a source of potential health hazards for the over seven million children affected by asthma in the United States. Adopting asthma-friendly school strategies not only helps keep children safe but it has been shown to have a positive impact on the academic achievement of students. Read on to learn how you can help to improve the school environment for your little ones. Success Stories

What is the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative™?
The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative (AFSI)is the American Lung Association’s comprehensive approach to asthma management in schools. AFSI provides the framework and tools needed for schools to create a long-term, sustainable plan for school-wide asthma management. Since every community has its own particular needs and available resources, each plan is unique to that school or school district. The Toolkit incorporates master planning along with four key strategies to establish an asthma-friendly school, such as: focusing on school health services, incorporating asthma education, maintaining a safe school environment, and ensuring physical education and activity for students that are able to participate. Within each strategy are a variety of recommended components that a school can adopt to create a plan that meets a community’s particular needs. Check out the AFSI Toolkit which is available for free online.

How have other schools adopted asthma-friendly strategies?
With support from the Center for Disease Control’s Division of Adolescent and School Health, the Lung Association has been able to provide support to and compile success stories from these schools that have placed an emphasis on creating an asthma-friendly school environment. Check out the AFSI Success Stories publication for insight on how communities nationwide have managed to implement asthma-friendly strategies for their schools.

How can I get AFSI started in my community?
The first step toward creating an asthma management plan is to establish a coalition of engaged partners that can include school staff, community organizations, parents, and even students, that help guide efforts. Get your school onboard with help from this downloadable AFSI brochure.

For more information on asthma or other lung health topics, contact the American Lung Association Help Line at 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872).