Administrators and school staff play a central role in creating asthma friendly schools. The following implementation tips include activities appropriate for administrators to support asthma friendly schools.
Establish a process to identify students with asthma.
Add a question about asthma and asthma medication to all registration forms.
Identifying and supporting a student with asthma is a collaborative effort.
The Plan of Care is a form that helps empower and support students with prevalent medical conditions. This form requires participation from the school boards, school staff, educators, parents/guardians and students. Policy/Program Memorandum (PPM) No. 161: Supporting Children and Students with Prevalent Medical Conditions (Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Diabetes, and/or Epilepsy) in Schools, 2018 requires that school boards develop a Plan of Care to help identify students with asthma.
Easy access to asthma medication.
Establish a process that identifies which students can carry and administer their asthma medication.
Know which students require assistance with storing and taking their medication. Students who are unable to administer their own medication should have it easily accessible. Worsening asthma can happen quickly and easy access to medication is important.
Establish a process for handling worsening asthma.
Adhere to policy or guideline for a school-wide approach to managing worsening asthma and emergency situations. This policy should be aligned with PPM 161: Supporting Children and Students with Prevalent Medical Conditions (Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Diabetes, and/or Epilepsy) in Schools, a Ministry of Education policy on supporting and empowering students with prevalent medical conditions effective September 1, 2018.
Display Ontario Lung Association’s poster Managing Asthma Attacks in key locations.
Ensure that parents/guardians of students with asthma are requested to complete and submit the Plan of Care. This form contains the student’s photograph, emergency contacts, information about the student’s asthma triggers and reliever medication (including where it’s located) and how to recognize and respond to asthma symptoms and emergency situations.
Identify and reduce common asthma triggers within the school environment.
Monitor for asthma triggers on an ongoing basis and take action to reduce exposure to asthma triggers whenever possible. For example, advocate for the use of scent-free markers and cleaning products, dust free chalk, etc. Plan for building repairs or cleaning at times that reduce the possibility of exposing students to fumes, dust and other irritants.
Encourage students with asthma to participate in physical activity and play.
Advocate and support students with asthma to participate in all activities, including physical activities and outdoor play.
Provide opportunities for asthma education to teachers, school staff, parents/guardians, students and volunteers.
At least annually, provide opportunities for education with regards to identifying and managing worsening asthma, proper use of inhalers and identifying and managing asthma triggers. Consider holding general asthma awareness education sessions for the school community.
Collaborate with others (i.e., health care providers, public health, parents/guardians and community partners) to create asthma friendly schools.
Identify an individual in the school to act as an asthma resource or Asthma Champion. This person could identify and review new asthma resources and help organize asthma-related activities.