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ND Schools Fall Short of Asthma/Allergies Honor Roll

New research finds that North Dakota schools are not making the grade when it comes to providing a healthy and safe learning environment for kids with asthma or allergies. Credit: AskinTulayOver.
New research finds that North Dakota schools are not making the grade when it comes to providing a healthy and safe learning environment for kids with asthma or allergies. Credit: AskinTulayOver.
August 24, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. – As students across North Dakota try to make the grade upon their return to class, new research shows schools in the state are falling short of the honor roll when it comes to protecting children with asthma or allergies.

A study from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America looked at 23 core policy standards and North Dakota only met 10 of them.

Larissa Kaczaniuk, the foundation’s advocacy and outreach manager, says one place where the state falls short is with outdoor and indoor air quality.

"So indoor air quality standards are going to address your usual regulations with your heating and cooling systems, the management and maintenance of those systems and also any sort of integrated pest management in schools,” she explains. “So that refers to things like insect control, any sort of environmental issue inside the school."

On the plus side, Kaczaniuk notes that North Dakota enacted a law several years ago allowing schools to obtain and maintain a supply of epinephrine for use in allergy emergencies.

Kaczaniuk says it's vital that the state make more progress towards better school-based policies, as asthma and allergies are among the leading causes of absenteeism locally and nationwide.

"We have approximately 7 million children in the country with asthma and about 6 million with food allergies,” she points out. “So it's impacting a large group of children and since they spend such a large amount of their time at school, school systems need to be able to take the steps necessary to ensure a healthy and safe learning environment."

Kaczaniuk says asthma alone leads to about 10.5 million missed school days in the U.S. each year and chronic absence does negatively affect a student's academic performance.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND