Asthma Friendly School Resources
Asthma friendly schools are those that make the effort to create safe and supportive learning environments for students with asthma. They have policies and procedures that allow students to successfully manage their asthma. These schools:
- Establish strong links with asthma care providers to ensure appropriate and ongoing health care.
- Target students who are the most affected by asthma at school to identify and intervene with those in greatest need.
- Get administrative buy-in and build a team of enthusiastic people across school staff and beyond the health office to support the program.
- Use a coordinated, multi-component and collaborative approach that includes school health services, asthma education for students and professional development for school staff.
- Support evaluation of school-based programs and use adequate and appropriate outcome measures.
The resources listed below provide information and tools that may be useful in developing your school or district programs and policies. Many of the organizations and sites listed include links to additional sites with information on other topics you might find useful as well.
These sites include resources that address many aspects of school health policy related to asthma.
National Association of School Nurses
This site provides a variety of resources including tools for policy development, managing asthma in schools and educational resources.
School Health Index: A Self-Assessment and Planning Guide
This online self-assessment and planning tool was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in partnership with school stakeholders. The index is based on CDC’s research-based guidelines for school health programs and is designed to help schools understand their strengths and weaknesses and to develop an action plan for improving their health policies and programs related to asthma and other health topics.
The American Lung Association’s Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative™ provides a comprehensive approach to asthma management in schools. The Asthma-Friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit provides additional information on asthma policy in schools.
These resources are more focused on policies and practices to support asthma friendly school environments.
American Lung Association Healthy Air Walkthrough Classroom Checklist is a short list to be used by a classroom teacher and includes some basic policy information as well as simple items for an asthma-friendly classroom.
Teacher’s Classroom Checklist from Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools
This is a classroom checklist for teachers from the Environmental Protection Agency that addresses issues of general cleanliness, animals in the classroom, drain traps, sources of excess moisture, thermal comfort, ventilation, educational supplies, local exhaust fans and lockers/locker rooms. This EPA checklist is focused on the lower level classrooms and locker rooms which are often problematic areas.
Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) primary website for indoor air quality in schools. Visitors to this site can access many of the best practices documents, new publications that are released, on-demand webinars, and tools for management of air quality in schools.
Asthma Environmental Intervention Guide for School-Based Health Centers
This resource was developed by the Regional Asthma Management & Prevention (RAMP) group in partnership with the California School-Based Health Alliance. It includes information on improving indoor air quality in schools and has an appendix with additional resources and tools.
Ventilation Checklist from Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools is the Environmental Protection Agency'’'s detailed checklist that can be used to evaluate the HVAC system. There are EPA guidance documents that accompany this detailed checklist.
Controlling Mold and Moisture During Routine Cleaning and Maintenance for a Healthy School Environment
This Environmental Protection Agency site provides information on the importance of controlling moisture and mold. It includes links to other key information about EPA’s Model School Program of Environmental Health Guidelines and a checklist of simple items to look for in prevention of water intrusion, moisture and subsequent mold issues.
Technical Solutions to Common Indoor Air Quality Issues
This EPA site identifies common issues and provides suggestions to address them with links for information on issues across the components related to air quality including HVAC, mold and moisture, integrated pest management, cleaning and maintenance, smart materials selection, chemical management and energy efficiency.
Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Reference Guide
This is the original EPA “Tools for Schools” reference guide.
Students, parents and caregivers sessions
When you are planning your sessions and events consider including information on the following topics. You’ll want to customize your information to the needs that you have identified among your students with asthma and the time and resources you have available. These topic areas are components included in the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Expert Panel Report Guidelines for the Diagnosis and Management of Asthma (EPR-3).
- Basic Facts about Asthma – What is asthma and include activity that includes contrast between airways for a person who has asthma and someone who does not have asthma.
- Assessing your asthma – is it well controlled? Using an Asthma Control Test© (ACT)
- Using written asthma action plans (AAP) – describe an Asthma Action Plan, explain how to use it to support daily action to control asthma, include how to adjust medication in response to worsening asthma symptoms, and when to seek medical care.
- Role of Medications – understanding the difference between rescue and controller medications and the actions of the two types of medication.
- Taking medications correctly –proper inhaler technique, use of other prescribed devices like holding chambers, spacers and nebulizers. Demonstrate inhaler technique and have students and parents participate.
- Triggers – how to identify, avoid and reduce asthma triggers that worsen the student’s asthma.
- Living with asthma – Teach students and families how they can stay in control of their asthma so they can be active, participate in family, school, sports and other activities.
This list includes a variety of resources that can be used in planning and implementing programs, events and activities.
Topics for Information Sharing Sessions – Seven topic areas to consider when planning sessions or events on asthma with families or students.
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) resources for asthma management in schools include the following:
- Asthma Care Quick Reference
- Managing Asthma: A Guide for Schools
- Asthma and Physical Activity in the School
The following videos may be useful in providing content and opportunities to engage your audiences.
Asthma Triggers: Hiding in Your Home (2:46 minutes)
Discussion of asthma triggers and how they can make asthma worse. Video provides information and action steps to reduce asthma triggers in the home.
Ask the Expert: Childhood Asthma (4:23 minutes)
What are some signs a child might have asthma? What are some overlooked asthma symptoms? How does a doctor confirm that a child has asthma? Dr. Judith Palfrey, MD, discusses and answers these questions.
Childhood Asthma: Trinity’s Story (3:02 minutes)
Trinity’s mother discusses what it is like to be a parent of a child with asthma. She shares her story of not knowing about asthma and how it affected her family. She talks about trips to the emergency room, and the importance of using medications each day and identifying and removing triggers in their home. She shares her feelings about how she has become a more confident parent in caring for her daughter’s asthma.
High School Asthma - Tiffany’s Story (3:07 minutes)
Tiffany is a boxing champion. She’s also one of the 7 million U.S. kids and teens with childhood asthma. Constant asthma attacks used to send her to the intensive care unit. Now that she has the right medication, nothing – not even asthma, gets in Tiffany’s way in the ring.
Videos demonstrating proper inhaler use produced by National Jewish Health and Ann & Robert Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago are listed below. Both organizations have made available these high-quality videos for viewing by asthma patients, families and caregivers.
National Jewish Health:
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital:
- Helping Your Child Use a Nebulizer Machine
- Aero Chamber demonstration: (Spanish) Spanish demonstration video – Holding chamber with mask.
The American Lung Association’s Asthma Basics course is a free one-hour interactive online learning module designed to help people learn more about asthma. This course is ideal for frontline healthcare professionals, such as school nurses or community health workers, as well as individuals with asthma, parents of children with asthma, and co-workers, friends and family who want to learn more about asthma. The program teaches participants to: recognize and manage triggers, understand the value of an asthma action plan, and recognize and respond to a breathing emergency.
MN Asthma Program On-line Training: Reducing Environmental Asthma Triggers in the Home (RETA) Home
This online training was designed for public health nurses, certified asthma educators, and anyone else interested in learning more about reducing asthma triggers in the home. The program is 40 minutes and includes a walk-through home assessment and directions on how to reduce or eliminate triggers of asthma. A resource section includes downloadable materials that were covered in the training video.
This list includes examples of tools and forms that you can download and customize as needed and links to sites providing additional examples and information on how they can be used to support the work of the school health office. Links are included to some sites for school districts in Minnesota and show forms and information they are using to support children with asthma.
The following tools and forms were originally developed as part of the Healthy Learner Asthma Initiative. This initiative was designed as a comprehensive school-community initiative to improve asthma management and support healthy learners. The initiative was implemented in the Minneapolis Public Schools, replicated in St. Paul Public Schools and then disseminated statewide.
The versions of these forms included here have been modified to make them accessible for screen readers.
- Asthma Action Plan Parent Letter (Word)
- Asthma Medical Request/Referral (Word)
- Ages 12+ Parent/Guardian Asthma Questionnaire-Control (Word)
- Ages 5-11 Parent/Guardian Asthma Questionnaire-Control (Word)
- Asthma/Breathing Problem Visit Notification (Word)
- Components of Asthma Management in the Health Office - Model (Word)
- Components of Asthma Management in the School - Model (Word)
- Consent to Share Asthma Action Plan (English) (Word)
- Consentimiento Para Compartir (Consent to Share Asthma Action Plan Spanish) (Word)
- American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health
This site provides additional options for forms that can be used by schools.
- National Association of School Nurses
This site provides a variety of assessment tools that can be used by school health office staff and other resources for policy development, managing asthma in schools and educational resources.