School Education Packets
For every classroom in Michigan with 30 children in it, two may
have asthma. This chronic disease causes unnecessary restriction
of childhood activities, and is a leading cause of school absenteeism.
"Although... asthma affects Americans of all ages, races
and ethnic groups... children, low-income and minority populations
have been most severely affected." (A
Strategic Plan for the Department of Health & Human Services.
US Dept. of Health and Human Services; May 2000.) Asthma can
also be life-threatening. Asthma can be controlled, though,
and with proper treatment and support, children with asthma
can lead fully active lives.
Asthma: It's more serious than you think, but many school employees
don't think so. A survey conducted by the Asthma Initiative
of Michigan (AIM) suggests that many school workers, including
administrative assistants, custodians, principals and teachers,
may routinely underestimate the disease – both in terms of its
prevalence and seriousness. Increases in asthma rates during
the last 15 years, along with several deaths in Michigan, have
raised the level of concern about whether or not Michigan schools
are prepared to deal with this epidemic. Asthma is the most
common chronic disease among school-aged children in the United
States. Estimates from state surveys show that about 1 in every
15 children in school has asthma.
New health information kits titled "Never Judge a Book by Its
Cover, and Other Important Lessons About Asthma" were developed
to disseminate accurate asthma information to Michigan schools. The packets are tailored to specific school staff. Click
on the links below to find out how very serious asthma can be
to a student.
Asthma: A Guide for Schools is intended to assist
schools that are planning and/or maintaining an asthma management
program. This guide provides followup steps for schools that
currently identify students with asthma through health forms
or emergency cards or plan to do so. It is designed to offer
practical information to school staff members of every position.
To learn about the actions each school staff member can take
to help kids with asthma at school, click on
It's not only kids who have asthma, though. Click here
to learn about work-related asthma.
For more information, visit the CDC's Division of Adolescent and School Health
Healthy Youth–Asthma web page.
The National Asthma Education and Prevention Program (NAEPP) believes
that schools should adopt policies for the management of asthma
that encourage the active participation of students in the self-management
of their disease, and allow for the most consistent, active
participation in all school activities. These
policies should allow:
- A smoke-free environment for all school activities.
- Access to health services supervised by a school nurse.
- A written medication policy that allows safe, reliable, and prompt
access to medications in the least restrictive way during all
school-related activities and self-managed administration of
medication consistent with the needs of the individual child
and the safety of others.
- An asthma action plan is a
vital part of each school child's asthma care. Learn more about
asthma action plans.
- A school-wide emergency plan for handling severe exacerbations of asthma.
- Staff development for all school personnel on school medication
policies, emergency procedures, and procedures for
communicating health concerns about students.
- Development of a supportive and healthy environment that respects the
abilities and needs of each student with asthma. View "Indoor Air Quality, Tools for Schools" – a program that helps schools recognize and address air quality problems.
If reasonable accommodations to keep kids with asthma healthy in
school are not made, schools can be held legally responsible. To find out more about reasonable accommodations law, view Section 504 and Title II of ADA, or learn more about IDEA.
Adapted from Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institutes of Health,
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the Fund for
the Improvement and Reform of Schools and Teaching, Office of
Educational Research and Improvement (OERI), U.S. Department
of Education. September 1991. NIH Publication No. 91-2650.