Asthma Friendly Schools

Asthma Education In Schools

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Open Airways Instructor & Students

From 2008 to 2011, with funding from an AFSI grant from the American Lung Association, and grants from The California Endowment, the Sonoma County Asthma Coalition was able to offer the following resources to local schools:

—asthma awareness and education to teachers, staff, school nurses, and coaches
— high school students have conducted indoor air quality assessments in classrooms and identified asthma triggers that need to be remediated
— county-wide trainings have been offered on “Green Cleaning in Schools”, “Tools for Schools on Indoor Air Quality” and Asthma Tool Kit trainings for school nurses
—asthma awareness and education are offered to 5th and 9th grade students, as well as the following classes for students with asthma:

Open Airways in Schools

Open Airways asthma education classes were offered to elementary schools students who had asthma. The OAS program was offered to students at Roseland, Guerneville, and Monte Rio, Santa Rosa City Schools and Wright School Districts in Sonoma County.

The OAS class consists of six 40-minute group lessons for children with asthma, usually held during lunch or after school. OAS uses group discussion, stories, games and role play to help students take part in the program that covers the following topics:

1. Basic information about asthma
2. Recognizing and managing asthma symptoms
3. Using medication
4. Avoiding asthma triggers
5. Getting enough exercise
6. Doing well at school

Kickin Asthma In Schools

Kickin’ Asthma is an interactive program that teaches high school and middle school students how to better manage their asthma. The Kickin’ Asthma class has been offered at Analy,El Molino and Laguna High Schools in the West County Union High School District. The program includes four 45 minute lessons, offered during the lunch hour, that cover:

1. Asthma facts, physiology
2. Symptoms, early warning signs, and triggers
3. Medicines and devices
4. Emergency signs, review, self advocacy, and problem solving

Comprehensive Asthma Management in Schools
Schools often do not have systems in place to ensure prevention and management of asthma. One tool that schools can use is:

Schools Health Index (SHI)

The SHI is a self-assessment and planning tool that schools can use to improve their health and safety policies and programs. The SHI was developed by the Centers for Disease Control with input from school administrators, health experts, parents, and health & education agencies.

The West Sonoma County Union High School district used the School Health Index in 2009 to assess the district’s overall wellness, and it’s current health and safety management systems.

There is growing recognition of the relationship between health and academic performance. The results from using the SHI can help schools include health promotion activities in a school’s overall School Wellness Plan in the following ways:

  • Enabling schools to identify strengths and weaknesses of health and safety policies and programs,
  • Enabling schools to develop an action plan for improving student health, which can be incorporated into the School Wellness Plan, and