The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has released its annual report assessing all 50 states on their leadership and progress on school-based policies that address student asthma and allergy health. The Foundation outlines 18 school-related core policies proven to affect positive healthy school environments. If a state has enacted at least 15 of the policies, it is listed on the Foundation’s “Honor Roll”. Only 6 states made the honor roll, including Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington. While Virginia has enacted a number of important policies that address asthma and allergy health, we fell short of the honor roll, only meeting 12 of the 18 core policies.
The areas that still need to be addressed include the following:
· State doesn’t require that schools maintain asthma/allergy incident reports for reactions, attacks, and medications administered.
· Nurse-to-student ratio is not 1:750 or better.
· State has not mandated that all schools must have Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) management policies.
· State has not adopted a policy requiring that districts and schools conduct periodic inspections (of HVAC system & other items important in asthma/allergy management).
· State does not have IAQ policies that include specific components important in asthma/allergy management (HVAC, HEPA, carpeting, pesticide use).
· State does not require schools to notify parents of upcoming pesticide applications.
Virginia still has a number of important policies in place to protect our children. You can see Virginia’s report card here.
Stephen W. Shield, MD