For Immediate Release: July 25, 2022
Ben Truman │ Vermont Department of Health
802-316-2117 / 802-863-7281
Five Vermont “Asthma Friendly Schools” Recognized
School policies help students and staff to manage asthma and support lung health
BURLINGTON, VT – The Department of Health has awarded five Vermont schools the designation of “Asthma Friendly Schools” for their efforts to implement health policies and practices to help students manage their asthma, prevent asthma attacks and avoid missed school days. Windsor School in Windsor County was recognized with Gold-Level status. Schools awarded Silver-Level status are Braintree Elementary and Brookfield Elementary in Orange County, Currier Memorial School in Rutland County, and Doty Memorial School in Washington County. The awardees were nominated by community champions and school nurses.
Asthma is a potentially serious condition that includes swelling of the airways that can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Vermont has the nation’s second highest asthma rate, in part because of high rates of tobacco use and older and poorly ventilated homes. Nearly 12% of the state’s adult population and about 9,000 children have asthma.
The Health Department’s Asthma Friendly Schools Initiative is designed to help make it easier for school leaders to develop and put in operation practices that support the lung health of their students – and anyone using the facility. Some of the actions taken by these schools include enforcing vehicle idling policies, banning the use of tobacco on school grounds, and reviewing the correct use of asthma medication by students. Most of the solutions are low-cost and easy to implement.
Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD congratulated the participating schools, and encouraged more to take up the challenge to help improve children’s health. “Asthma can be a dangerous condition for many children, and limits their ability to be physically active – which can contribute to other chronic conditions. Fortunately, there are things we can do to help keep our kids healthy,” said Dr. Levine. “We’ve learned well throughout the pandemic how important a healthy school environment is to students’ learning and their social, emotional and physical development. I hope that even more schools will partner with us in the future and become Asthma Friendly Schools.”
Learn more about asthma in Vermont, including causes, signs, triggers and management: healthvermont.gov/asthma
See how to become an Asthma Friendly School: healthvermont.gov/wellness/asthma/asthma-friendly-schools.
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