All the policy and practice areas of this toolkit work to create a healthy school environment that reduces asthma triggers, promotes asthma management, and is good for everyone who walks through the school’s doors. Some places might be ready for a school-wide approach to creating an asthma-friendly school. This strategy considers all the potential problem areas and needs of a school, and all the policies and practices that create a healthier environment, and guides decision-making about actions and priorities.

While the school-wide approach could be the most effective in creating an asthma-friendly environment, it is important to have sufficient resources — a dedicated and diverse team, a supportive administration, and financial resources — in place. You will also need administration support and buy-in from key decision makers to help with implementation. Do not worry if you do not have those right away — your team can educate key decision makers.

Financial resources are also important depending on the policy or practice area you are approaching. There are many low-cost and  no-cost ways to start: organize de-clutter days, change cleaning practices on a small scale, or discourage pests. For a school-wide approach, your team will follow the same steps outlined in the systematic approach [link]. Rather than focusing on a specific policy and practice area, you will identify several areas to work on to maximize your impact.

Resources & Tools

Approaches emphasizing indoor air quality (IAQ) or green schools/classrooms are similar to the school-wide approach, and related resources can be useful if your team decides to take the school-wide approach.

Healthy School Environments Toolkit, Boston Public Schools: Resource toolkit with policies and best practices to promote healthy schools and improve school environmental conditions.

Asthma-friendly Schools Initiative Toolkit, American Lung Association: Guidance, tools, tips, and resources that align with CDC’s Strategies for Addressing Asthma within a Coordinated School Health Program.

Creating Healthy Indoor Air Quality in Schools, Environmental Protection Agency: Best practices, professional training resources, other supporting tools and documents.

Indoor Air Quality in Schools: A Primer for Teachers, Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Bureau of Environmental Health: Tips and simple steps around ventilation, moisture and microbial growth, and source pollution and classroom cleanliness that school staff can take to maintain and improve indoor air quality.

Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools Action Kit, Environmental Protection Agency: Best practices, industry guidelines, policies, sample IAQ management plan.

Breathing Easy Indoor Air Quality School Resource Guide, Pioneer Valley Asthma Coalition: Training and supporting tools and resources, including environmental management system worksheets.

Green Classroom Professional Certificate, US Green Building Council: Online course for creating green and healthy classrooms to support academic performance.

Case study: It takes a team: Clinical asthma management in the classroom [link_Resource #7]