The World Health Organization defines chronic diseases as diseases of long duration and generally slow progression. The Journal of the American Medical Association lists the following as the most common chronic childhood diseases: asthma, cystic fibrosis, diabetes (type 1 or type 2), obesity, malnutrition, developmental disabilities, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, consequences of low birth rate and prematurity, including chronic lung disease, retinopathy of prematurity, and developmental delays, and mental illnesses.

Ashland Public Schools (APS) recognizes that these students with chronic illness may require reasonable accommodations necessary to ensure access to available education and education-related benefits. In the school setting, students with chronic health conditions require monitoring, appropriate and timely care to maintain health status and prevent emergencies, and timely intervention should an emergency occur. Chronic illness will be managed in compliance with applicable state and federal laws including Massachusetts General Law Chapter 71B, IDEA 2004 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and in compliance with the guidelines set forth below.

Responding to the needs of students with chronic conditions in the school setting requires a comprehensive, coordinated, and systematic approach. Students with chronic health conditions can function to their maximum potential if their needs are met. The benefits to students can include better attendance, improved alertness and physical stamina, fewer symptoms, fewer restrictions on participation in physical activities and special activities, such as field trips, and fewer medical emergencies.

It is the policy of Ashland schools to work together with parents, students, health care providers, and the community to provide a safe and supportive educational environment for students with chronic illnesses and to ensure that students with chronic illnesses have the same educational opportunities as other students.