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Gillibrand proposes new bill for asthma preparedness in schools

Senate Democrats

Asthma rates are on the rise across New York, especially in children.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has proposed the School Asthma Management Plan Act to ensure schools are equipped to respond to asthma attacks and to help prevent them from happening.

"This bill would ensure that schools have a coordinated response to asthma related medical emergencies, better communication with citizens and access to life saving medication," Gillibrand told reporters.

According to the New York State Department of Health, asthma causes students across the country to miss a total of 10.5 million school days every year.

"Asthma is the leading cause of school absenteeism,” said Dr. Robert Lemanske, president of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. “The program proposed in Sen. Gillibrand's bill will improve school support of students with asthma and result in better attendance; improved alertness and physical stamina; and fewer medical emergencies.”

Funding for the Centers for Disease Control National Asthma Control Program has been reduced, eliminating some resources for schools to prepare for and address potential asthma attacks.

"Under this new legislation, schools would be able to apply for grants that would give them funding to train their staff for emergencies, and purchase equipment like inhalers," Gillibrand said.

Grant money would average around $25,000 for equipment and asthma preparedness training.

All schools would be eligible to apply for the grants. But priority will be placed on applications from schools with higher populations of lower-income students, which often have higher rates of asthma.