An environmental scan should be performed to identify individuals, groups and resources that can facilitate the provisions of asthma programs & provide opportunities for collaboration. It is important to identify individuals and groups, and key resources to help Create Asthma Friendly Schools:
KNOW THE SCHOOL BOARDS
School Boards are key partners in working with schools. Board approval is generally required before any new programs can be offered to schools. Most Ontario Boards of Education have websites where contact information can be obtained.
EXPLORE SCHOOL BOARD POLICIES, PROCEDURES AND PROTOCOLS.
Few Boards of Education in Ontario have specific asthma policies, procedures and protocols in place. However, they have other health-related policies, protocols or procedures which can be helpful to explore before implementing any asthma programs. Find out what, if any, policies, procedures or protocols exist related to:
- Other health conditions (e.g. diabetes, epilepsy)
- Medication management
- Trips/off-site excursions
- Extra-curricular activities
- Emergency management
Board of Education websites list policies, protocols or procedures and often include related forms that can be printed.
REVIEW SCHOOL BOARD DOCUMENTS/FORMS
Identify potential opportunities for inclusion of asthma into existing forms.
- Registration form: Are parents/guardians explicitly asked to indicate whether or not their child has asthma?
- Emergency /medical/health form: Is asthma listed? How is worsening asthma handled at school?
- Off-site forms: Is asthma mentioned? How is it managed?
- Medication Administration policy (and forms): Are asthma medication (inhalers or puffers) referred to specifically? Is it clear that asthma medications are included? Can children carry their asthma medications? Is there an option for self-administration of medication? Where are medications kept?
IDENTIFY POTENTIAL COMMUNITY PARTNERS
Public Health Units:
- Every Public Health Units mandated by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care to provide a variety of services and programs to children in elementary schools. Public Health Nurses involved with schools can be a valuable link to gaining entry into schools, working with principals/Boards and accessing parents/students for education purposes
Groups & Organizations:
- The Lung Association has chapters in many communities which support community asthma initiatives, including the Laps for Lungs program. Visit www.on.lung.ca for more information.
- Ophea provides support to teachers regarding asthma in schools, www.ophea.net
Other Health Care Professionals
- Asthma educators, asthma/allergy specialists, asthma clinics, local asthma experts, including researchers, may be able to assist in the program.