Question of the Week

January 13, 2003 


"Several years ago, Phillip Hernandez had an asthma attack at school. He did his best to get to the office where his lifesaving medication was kept, but by the time he got there and the secretary located his nebulizer, which opens airways more effectively than an inhaler, it was too late. He collapsed. Efforts to treat him and revive him failed. Phillip, who was 11, would probably have lived if he had been carrying an inhaler, or bronchodilator, a court later said. But the school had a zero-tolerance drug policy forbidding children to carry drugs. What the school did not write in its policy or tell Phillip's mother was that it made exceptions for inhalers and other medications that doctors deemed necessary."

"Asthma also accounts for 14 million missed days of school each year. In many cases, says Dr. Howard L. Taras, chairman of the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on School Health, parents keep their children who are suffering from asthma home largely because they fear the schools will not manage their children's disorders. Experts agree that the nation's 89,000 public schools vary widely in how they handle children with asthma."

Students have health problems. Parents have concerns about sending their children to schools where no one knows how do help their children if there is a health problem. What can schools do? What should schools be expected
to do? Schools are asked to take on more and more responsibility. Some say this is too much, while others argue that children are at school for such a high percentage of their waking hours that teachers, school counselors,
and school nurses must be expected to play a big role in the care of these children.

Different states have different requirements with regards to what health services districts and schools are required to provide. To see what your state requires, the CDC has a table that shows "States That Require Districts or Schools to Provide Health Services, by Type of Service" Services include:
"Medications | Sports Physicals | Case Management | CPR First Aid | Dental Problems | Acute Illnesses | Chronic Illnesses | STDs | Immunizations or Vaccinations | Lab Tests | Prenatal Care | Prescriptions"

The CDC has created a plan to help individuals and organizations work together in communities across the country:

"A coordinated school health model consists of eight interactive components. Schools by themselves cannot, and should not be expected to, address the nation‚s most serious health and social problems. Families, health care workers, the media, religious organizations, community organizations that serve youth, and young people themselves also must be systematically involved. However, schools could provide a critical facility in which many agencies might work together to maintain the well-being of young people. The following are working descriptions of the
eight components of a coordinated school health program...."

Please, take the time to look at the answer the CDC has found.

Question of the Week:
Would this plan be an answer in you community? Would it help? What about it could help in your school or district? How would it need to be modified to fit specific and/or unique needs where you are?

Please email me with any ideas or suggestions.
Note: Due to increasing amounts of SPAM sent to this account, please include "QOW" in the subject line when sending me email.

I look forward to reading what you have to say.

[email protected]
Health Community Coordinator
Access Excellence @ the National Health Museum

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