Local News

13 asthma-friendly Vermont schools are recognized

Doty Memorial School in Rutland County and Cavendish Town Elementary School in Windsor County both earn Gold status

Thirteen schools from around the state have been recognized by the Vermont Dept. of Health’s “asthma-friendly school” initiative on Feb. 12 for their commitment to asthma-control strategies to support the lung health of their students.

Asthma is a potentially serious condition that includes clogging and swelling of the airways that can lead to difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing. Nearly 9,000 (1 in 12) children in Vermont have asthma, and of those, 61% of have uncontrolled asthma.

Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD said the number of new schools participating shows a growing understanding about the impact of asthma on children’s health and ability to learn. “Asthma can be a dangerous condition for many children. Asthma symptoms can disrupt sleep, make it difficult to concentrate, and can lead to missed school days,” said Dr. Levine. “Schools that have asthma-control policies in place help create a healthy environment where children spend much of their day.”

Vermont has one of the nation’s highest asthma rates, with significant contributors being high rates of tobacco use and vaping, exposure to secondhand smoke, and poor air quality among older and poorly ventilated homes. In addition, people who rent their housing, and those with incomes less than 125% of the federal poverty level, have disproportionately high rates of uncontrolled asthma.

Dr. Levine also noted the impact asthma can have on children’s activities and social growth. “One in two children with asthma experience limitations on their ability to fully participate in school sports and other activities that foster social, physical, creative and emotional development. This is why I’m pleased to see more schools joining families in making asthma management a priority for our children’s health,” he said.

Through the asthma-friendly schools initiative, schools are supported in developing policies and strategies that are low-cost and easy to implement.

Successful efforts include:

  • Collecting up-to-date asthma action plans for students
  • Use of only Green Seal certified cleaning products
  • Training school staff and faculty in asthma management and emergency response
  • Reviewing self-care and the correct use of asthma medications with students

The 13 schools recognized for the 2022-2023 school year are:

Gold:

  • Robinson Elementary School,
    Addison County
  • Brewster Pierce Memorial School, Chittenden County
  • Winooski School District,
    Chittenden County
  • Doty Memorial School,
    Rutland County
  • Cavendish Town Elementary School, Windsor County

Silver:

  • Newark Street School,
    Caledonia County
  • Currier Memorial School,
    Rutland County
  • Guilford Central School,
    Windham County
  • Townshend Elementary School, Windham County
  • Union Street School,
    Windsor County

Bronze:

  • East Burke School,
    Caledonia County
  • Alburgh Community Education Center, Grand Isle County
  • Brattleboro Area Middle School, Windham County

 For more information, visit HealthVermont.gov/Asthma-Friendly-Schools.

 

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