How asthma-friendly is your school? Asthma is one of the main reasons that students miss school due to illness – more than 10 million lost school days every year. There are things that families and schools can do to help make sure that students with asthma stay healthy, in school and ready to learn.
About the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative
The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is a comprehensive approach to asthma management in schools. By providing tools and resources, schools and communities are better able to create a sustainable, asthma management plan within their existing school structure.
The Story Behind the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative
The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative was created through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division of Adolescent and School Health. The effort began with a December 2001 conference that pooled the experiences and insight of a range of professionals with expertise in asthma, health education and promotion, community organization, school health, environmental health and program management.
This group of experts recommended a comprehensive set of strategies for creating an asthma-friendly school. They also encouraged the Lung Association to develop a resource that was focused on the role that communities could play in helping their schools with planning and implementation. Out of this conference came the Asthma-Friendly Schools Toolkit and the Asthma Incidence Reporter (AIR) database. Extensive pilot testing and revision over a two-year period led to the final products, which have been available to schools and communities on the American Lung Association website since 2007.
How the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Works
The goal of the Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative is to keep children with asthma healthy, in school and ready to learn.
The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit is a planning tool based on real-life activities that have been used in schools throughout the United States to create comprehensive asthma management systems. The Toolkit is based on the premise that a successful Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative must be grounded in a structured planning process that includes coalition building, community wide input, action planning, and ongoing support. The process and details in the Toolkit provide in-depth planning and activities that are complementary to the Center for Disease Control’s Strategies for Addressing Asthma within a Coordinated School Health Program.
Each community, coalition, organization and school is different and will need to design a custom long-term planning process based on their particular needs. The Toolkit is designed to allow and encourage groups to design a plan that is specific to their community needs and resources.
Links that can help: