The Georgia Department of Public Health officially presented the Asthma-Friendly School Award to the Cobb County School District during the Georgia DPH board meeting Aug. 9. Georgia DPH designated Cobb Schools as Georgia’s first Asthma-Friendly School District June 15.
In order to be recognized, schools and school districts must adopt the following policies and best practices:
- 100% Tobacco Free School Policy
- School Asthma Policy
- No Idling (School Bus) Policy
- Medication Policy
- Integrated Pest Management Policy
The Georgia Asthma Control Program recognized that the Cobb County School District’s adoption of these policies positively impacted approximately 112,300 students. About 9,800 Cobb students had asthma or asthma related illnesses during the 2015-2016 school year.
In order to complete the Asthma Friendly School Policy Checklist and Assessment, several Cobb schools began collaborating in Spring 2016 with the school departments of health services, health and physical education and maintenance services. The Georgia Asthma Control Program worked in tandem with Cobb County and Douglas County public health departments to learn more about how the districts manage asthma in schools.
According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, asthma is a common chronic childhood illness and a major cause of student absences from Georgia schools. Students with poorly controlled asthma may have greater difficulty with schoolwork and a higher incidence of grade failure. Schools are in a unique position to provide asthma friendly environments through the implementation of supportive policies, awareness activities and emergency protocols.
“The asthma friendly environment in Cobb County Schools for students and staff is supported through district level policies and procedures, which facilitate the collaborative efforts of various disciplines and departments,” said Melanie Bales, Cobb County School District nursing supervisor. “This level of teamwork keeps our students and staff healthy, safe and successful.”
The Asthma Friendly Schools Toolkit includes more details about how asthma affects Georgia students, and the steps schools must take to be recognized as an asthma friendly school.