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House Passes Bill Protecting Students With Asthma and Allergies, Moves to Senate for Vote

 

On Sept. 29, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act (H.R. 2468). If passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, this bill will help millions of U.S. school children with asthma and food allergies.

This bill includes many of the policy recommendations from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation’s (AAFA) State Honor Roll for all public elementary and secondary schools. It would encourage states to put into place:

  • Methods to identify all students who have allergies or asthma
  • Individual student action plans
  • School nurses or trained staff on site during operating hours to give medicines for both allergies and asthma
  • Education for school staff
  • Efforts to reduce environmental triggers
  • Coordinate management of care with families and healthcare providers

“As schools face monumental challenges in re-opening during a global pandemic and need guidance from the federal government on how to best protect their students, House passage of this bill couldn’t be timelier. Not only is this bill protective for the long-term health of children in the U.S., but it can also help ensure more schools have the resources they need to protect from asthma and allergy while also reducing the spread of COVID-19. Healthier kids at school also means fewer missed school days, more time learning, fewer hospitalizations and ER visits due to allergy and asthma and, therefore, less strain on our health care system.” – Kenneth Mendez, AAFA’s President and CEO


The School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act has been a top priority for AAFA for many years, and we are very encouraged that the House has passed it. Earlier this year, AAFA's President and CEO Kenneth Mendez testified before the House Subcommittee on Health in support of the bill.

AAFA thanks House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and Rep. Phil Roe (R-TN) for introducing the bill. We also thank H.R. 2468’s 45 other co-sponsors, including Reps. Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Fred Upton (R-MI), co-chairs of the House Asthma and Allergy Caucus, for the leading the bill through the House.

We would also like to salute our AAFA community for your tireless efforts in support of H.R. 2468. Thousands of you asked your representatives to co-sponsor and vote in favor of this bill. But we must ask for your continued help. House passage of the H.R. 2468 was the first step. Now, the bill needs to pass the Senate and be sent to the president to be signed into law.

Add your voice! Use @AAFANational's tool to tell your senators to support H.R. 2468. Students can excel at school in a safe environment when school nurses, staff and administrators are prepared to help students with allergies and asthma. https://ctt.ec/dIPyG+

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Asthma and Allergy Advocacy Action Alert

Please tell your senators to support the School-Based Allergies and Asthma Management Program Act to protect students with asthma and allergies and to swiftly enact this bipartisan bill. Use our tool below to send an email to your senators. You can also share your message on Facebook or Twitter. Just follow these steps:

AAFA’s Action Alerts notify advocates about pending federal or state asthma and allergy legislation. When you sign up to be an AAFA community member, you will receive updates about national or state issues. With your help, we can make a difference in the lives of people affected by asthma and allergies.

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Comments (9)

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Anjwl - parents/family should always be part of the equation for managing asthma. For some kids, the school nurse may be the one picking up on asthma issues at school. Sometimes this is because the child's asthma is not being well managed at home. School nurses can help educate parents about better asthma management. The should support the parents, not make decisions for them. AAFA supports the SAMPRO (School-Based Asthma Management Program) team approach.

Kathy, I totally get Nicolle's concern, I am resently enrolled in a community health worker class and one of the cases I was reading a 16 year old went to her CHW as she wanted birthcontrol, never once in the case senerio did they mention the parents role in the situation, lets face it there are alot of parents that are not active in the lives of  thier children but we need to stop and think that thier are parents that are active and we need to be careful not to give to much power to other individual to think its ok to take the rights of the parent away, even the inactive parents need to be included and given the oppurtunity to be the one to make the discisions of thier children. Its great to have a team but lets make sure that the team isn't given power over a parent, some parents don't want that team as they have thier own team that works for them, just in the case with Nicolle. 

Welcome Sher - reducing environmental triggers is very important. When schools better understand the sources of environmental triggers things like cleaning and fragrance, they can be addressed with policies to reduce exposure of students and staff. 

Thanks for sharing that experience Nicolle. I understand your your concern and there is no intention that the school would make decisions for the parent but rather a team approach. 

Studies show that for underserved kids, case management including school nurses can improve outcomes for kids with asthma. You read more in our Asthma Disparities Report (p143) - https://www.aafa.org/asthma-di...n-on-minorities.aspx

Dear Kathy, 

I am a parent of a now grown asthmatic child. There was never a school nurse on campus in elementary schools, rather there was an aid who would call me immediately if our son needed to use his nebulizer to dispense his albuterol. She was wonderful. The language around the school being part of the coordination of my child's care is alarming. The wording needs to be different because it sounds as if the school would be making decisions for the parent.

Yours in health, 

Nicolle "Nikki"

  • Efforts to reduce environmental triggers

This is a missing piece in asthma education. Teachers, administrators, and even parents are lacking in knowledge of environmental triggers especially fragrance products, aerosols, disinfectants, and air fresheners. This bill needs to do more to give parents the ability to demand the cease of teachers from using toxic products in their classrooms.

Hi Nicolle,

School nurses are a vital part of the care team to help manage a child's asthma at school. Taking a coordinated team approach with the school nurse managing things at school is the best way to keep children safe at school. The nurse can communicate with both parents and teachers. They have a nursing background but are also part of the educational team. Every child with asthma should have an asthma action plan and some need additional accommodations in an IHCP or 504 plan and the school nurse helps make sure that is all set up.

I am in support of much of this bill with the exception of coordination of care. No school should ever be involved in a child's coordination of care. That is to be left up to the parents and their care provider. Involving a school in the actual coordination of care would be a bridge too far. 

Last edited by Nicolle
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