ACT Government leads with air quality guide for schools, a win for students with asthma

Asthma Australia is proud to support the release of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Government’s new air quality guide and resources for ACT schools, designed to help staff respond to reduced air quality caused by bushfire smoke, putting students with asthma in the foreground.

More people in the ACT are affected by asthma compared with the national average, 12.1% and 11.2% respectively. Back to school sees an annual spike in children going to hospital with asthma.

CEO of Asthma Australia Michele Goldman says the resources are comprehensive and reassured parents that children with asthma are being catered for.

“Many children with asthma and their parents have been facing uncertainty about going back to school, not knowing if the school has a process in place to respond to poor air quality. The ACT government has addressed this in a timely, thorough and collaborative way.”

The air quality information kit, which has been shared to all schools in the ACT and developed in consultation with experts, sets a clear protocol to help schools make informed and local decisions on air quality and sets out additional actions for students and staff who have sensitive conditions such as asthma.

“The guide provides a clear, standard way of thinking for every school to reference, rather than leaving the burden on each individual school to develop their own policy,” Ms Goldman said.

“The ACT Government has been the extremely responsive in addressing the health concerns of their community during this bushfire crisis.”

The ACT Government has included asthma resources from Asthma Australia’s Back to School Asthma campaign, developed in partnership with TerryWhite Chemmart.

Back to school time ordinarily sees a spike in asthma hospitalisations but with risks heightened due to bushfire smoke, Asthma Australia has been urging schools and parents to be extra vigilant in being asthma ready for school.

“We encourage all schools to implement this process,” Ms Goldman said.

To view the ‘Information on managing air quality in ACT public schools’ visit this link https://www.education.act.gov.au/about-us/all-news-and-news-alerts/news-items/january-2020/air-quality-in-schools

To view Asthma Australia’s Back to school campaign resources, visit www.asthma.org.au/back-to-school

If you have questions about your asthma, you can phone us on 1800 ASTHMA (1800 278 462) to speak with an Asthma Educator or visit the asthma Australia website on www.asthma.org.au.