Asthma is the most chronic health condition among school-aged kids and one of the leading causes of absenteeism. Schools face many issues related to asthma including responding to students in respiratory distress, decreased student and staff productivity increased health office visits and access to life-saving medicine.
The American Lung Association's Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative ToolkitTM is a resource that includes planning tools, policy recommendations and education programs that are based on real-life activities used in schools throughout the U.S. to create safe and healthy learning environments.
The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit consists of six parts. Let's start at the beginning with master planning.
Proper planning, strong partnerships and a thorough school assessment form the foundation of a sustainable, long-term asthma management plan. While there are many ways to plan, this Toolkit presents one suggested system organized into Four Action Steps.
Maximize School Health Services:
A well-trained, well-staffed school health office can provide students with the support they need to manage their own asthma and prevent asthma-related emergencies so they can be safe and healthy throughout the school day.
Build Asthma Education:
Asthma education for teachers, coaches, school support staff, students with asthma and their families should be outlined in school health policies. Education can build confidence in a student's self-care practices, in a staff member's ability to handle an emergency, or in a parent's ability to help manage their child's asthma.
Provide a Healthy School Environment:
The majority of a child's life is spent on school grounds and in school buildings. Indoor and outdoor pollutants can be potential triggers that bring on symptoms for a student. Establishing a healthy school environment by implementing asthma-friendly policies and practices can keep students healthy, reduce absences, and decrease the chances of an asthma emergency.
Manage Physical Education & Activity:
Through education, activity modifications, and proper management, children with well-controlled asthma should be encouraged to participate in physical activity. Staying active helps students stay physically and mentally fit.
Is your school or school district taking the steps to create a safe and healthy learning environment?
Take the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Assessment Tool to find out, and learn more about the resources that can help.
The American Lung Association's Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit is a resource that includes planning tools, policy recommendations and education programs that are based on real-life activities used in schools throughout the U.S. to create safe and healthy learning environments. Watch this video explaining the six parts of the toolkit. Then, take the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Assessment Tool to find out how asthma-friendly is your school, and get connected to resources that can help in the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit.
Page last updated: November 17, 2022