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AAFA Releases 2014 State Honor Roll for School Allergy/Asthma Policies

The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America has released its “State Honor Roll” list – which compares all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, looking at the quality of school asthma and allergy policies.

See AAFA’s full news release below for information about this year’s list:

New State “Honor Roll” Reveals New Standards, New States and New Outlooks for Asthma & Allergy School Policies

Two New States Named to the 2014 Asthma and Allergy School Honor Roll During a Record Year for Medication Access, but More Still Needs to Be Done.

WASHINGTON, DC (August 13, 2014) – In just a few weeks, schools will be back in session for the millions of students with asthma and food allergies. So what are schools doing to protect students and teachers with these chronic diseases? Today the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) revealed its 2014 State Honor Roll™ of Asthma and Allergy Policies for Schools, comparing all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC) on numerous policy standards to find out which states made their annual “Honor Roll,” or not. While some states have already implemented crucial school policies to support students and staff, many states still have not done enough to meet the Foundation’s standards.

The updated report, at www.StateHonorRoll.org, is an annual look at how states compare on 23 core policy issues – newly revised up from 18 core policy issues last year – that affect kids and adults with asthma and allergies while they spend the day in schoolrooms nationwide.

Eight states and the District of Columbia currently meet the Foundation’s criteria to be listed on the State Honor Roll™. These states implemented at least 18 of AAFA’s 23 “core policy standards” to secure a spot on the Honor Roll this year and have exhibited consistent leadership in comprehensive statewide school policies that address the needs of students with asthma, food allergies, anaphylaxis and other related allergic diseases in public elementary, middle and high schools.

The 2014 State Honor Roll list includes (in alphabetical order):

• Connecticut
• District of Columbia
• Massachusetts
• Mississippi (New)
• New Jersey
• Rhode Island
• Vermont
• Washington
• West Virginia (New)

“Although less than 20 percent of states meet the Foundation’s criteria, the progress that has been made cannot be ignored,” says Charlotte Collins, AAFA’s Senior Vice President for Policy and Programs, and principal investigator of the study. “There is definitely momentum,” says Collins. An additional 12 states passed laws enabling schools to stock and use epinephrine auto-injectors for students who need anaphylaxis medications in an emergency, bringing the total number of states with such laws to 39.

Two new states joined the State Honor Roll list, even with the increased standards, and one of those states – Mississippi – accomplished it just by passing one comprehensive law that addressed many of the policy issues. Policy makers, parents, school administrators and health professionals should look to these states and the others as models. Surprisingly, one state that had been on the Honor Roll for the past 2 years – Indiana –did not make the list this year because it fell behind the higher threshold for inclusion on the Honor Roll.

“This report is a call to action for parents and advocates across the country, and it’s more than just a list of policies” says Dr. Cary Sennett, AAFA’s President & CEO. “It’s a blueprint for all the other states to see where progress is being made around the U.S. and how to create and enact policies that save lives.”

Asthma and allergic diseases are serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly. With 14 million missed school days annually, schools should at least ensure the safety of students and staff when under their care. The 8 million children with asthma should have quick access to their medications. The 3 million students with diagnosed food allergies – and the many others with undiagnosed food allergies – should have immediate access to life-saving epinephrine. Furthermore, the millions of adults who have asthma and allergies should have access as well.

Learn more at aafa.org.

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