Asthma Medication in Schools
When children with asthma attend school, their safety and management of asthma becomes a shared responsibility of the family, their asthma care provider, and the school personnel. Although all 50 states and the District of Columbia have passed a law allowing students to carry and use inhalers at school, some kids are still being denied access to these lifesaving medications during the school day.
Seven states have laws allowing schools to stock bronchodilators for students with asthma. Once the law is in place, it is important to provide guidelines and procedures to bring the law to life at the local level. Even without a state law, school districts can put a protective policy in place providing immediate access to asthma medication in schools. We encourage all school districts to implement a model policy to provide students with asthma access to quick-relief medicines during the school day. Having a model policy that allows standing orders can save the life of a child.
Everyone with a diagnosis of asthma should have a bronchodilator or quick-relief medication to reverse quickly the narrowing of the airways that happens during an asthma flare-up. Students often forget to bring their medication or lose it during the school day, and families can have a difficult time providing back-up inhalers for their child to bring to school.
Use the resources and tools below to help schools overcome the barriers and make asthma medications available to students throughout the school day.
Issue Brief: Improving Access to Asthma Medications in Schools
This issue brief examines the policies and practices in schools and makes recommendations on ways that schools, families and communities can better ensure that all students with asthma have quick, reliable access to the medications they need to stay healthy, in school and ready to learn.
Animation: Asthma Medication in Schools Barriers and Solutions
This animation provides school personnel with steps and resources to improve access to asthma medications in schools.
Model Policy for School Districts: Stock Bronchodilators
To ensure access to life-saving medication during the school day, schools can adopt a Stock Bronchodilator Policy to ensure access and availability to back-up asthma medication using standing orders for quick-relief medication. Use this tool to learn how to implement a model policy on stock bronchodilators, create a protocols and procedures document, and access language to create a Stock Bronchodilator Policy for your school or school district.
Student Readiness Assessment Tool
The purpose of this tool is to create a standardized process for designated school personnel and parents to use in order to determine a child's readiness to self-carry a quick-relief inhaler. Use this tool to help you identify a student's capabilities and areas that need improvement. Make a plan to work with the student throughout the school year to build the knowledge and skills to self-carry and use a quick-relief inhaler during the school day. Available in English and Spanish.
Asthma Medication in Schools: Assessing a Child's Readiness to Carry and Use a Quick-Relief Inhaler
A free interactive online learning module designed to assist designated school health staff assess a child's readiness to carry and use a quick-relief inhaler. This course will teach participants to: describe the barriers to access to asthma medication in schools; overcome barriers with a variety of resources; assess a child's readiness to self-carry asthma medications in schools; and, implement support activities for all students with asthma regardless of their level of independence.
Asthma Action Plan for Home and School (English & Spanish)