Chicago schools adopt new policy for dealing with asthma, allergies

The father of a 13-year-old girl who died at school of an allergic reaction addressed the school board Wednesday.

January 26, 2012

Chicago Public Schools has some new policies concerning student health.

The Board of Education voted yesterday to establish an asthma and diabetes management policy, its first ever.

The district says asthma is the top chronic disease in CPS—more than 19,000 students have it.

Under the policy, parents are asked to notify the school if a child has asthma. Students will now be able to carry and self-administer asthma medication.

The district will also begin to stock Epipens, used to counter allergic reactions, in every school.

The father of a 13-year-old girl who died at school of a reaction addressed the board yesterday, and praised the new policy.

CPS estimates about 4,000 students have diagnosed allergies.

The new policies require school staff to be trained in prevention and management of allergic reactions, asthma, and ADHD. The district says that will help schools deal with emergencies if a nurse isn’t present.  About 400 nurses serve more than 675 schools in the system. District spokesman Frank Shuftan said nurses are deployed according to student need.

The board also approved Dr. Stephanie Whyte as Chief Health Officer, a new $157,000 cabinet-level position. 

Schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard said in a statement that the health and well-being of students is critical to attendance, attentiveness, and achievement.