State policies can help protect students with asthma and allergies. As part of our 2019 State Honor Roll™ of Asthma and Allergy Policies for Schools (SHR), we look at ways the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act can benefit both students and states.
On May 2, 2019, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Representative Phil Roe (R-TN) introduced the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act (H.R. 2468). If passed, it would put important protections in place for children with asthma and allergies.
This bill would encourage states to put into place:
- A method to identify all students with allergies and/or asthma
- Individual student action plans
- Allergy and asthma education for school staff responsible for these students
- A school nurse or other trained staff on site during operating hours
- Efforts to reduce environmental triggers
- A system to support the students
This bill builds on the School Access to Emergency Epinephrine Act. This bill encourages states to:
- Allow self-administration of asthma and anaphylaxis medicine
- Requires elementary and secondary schools to allow trained staff to give epinephrine
- Maintain a supply of epinephrine
- Have at least one person trained in how to give epinephrine at the school during operating hours
If passed, H.R. 2468 would encourage states to improve their policies so they can be given preference to receive funding from federal asthma-related grant programs.
One such grant program is the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Asthma Control Program (NACP). The goals of the program are to reduce the number of asthma-related deaths, hospitalizations, emergency department visits, and missed school and workdays.
Recognizing that asthma is the leading cause for missed school days, the NACP worked with the CDC’s Healthy Schools program to create specific strategies to help asthma programs, school staff and partners work toward more asthma-friendly schools. The NACP awards funds every five years to help states and other jurisdictions put these strategies in place.
All students should be able to learn and thrive in a safe school environment. They deserve access to school nurses and other staff trained to manage and respond to the needs of students with allergies and asthma. H.R. 2468 is important to encourage states to improve their policies.