Unpacking Michigan's New CPR/AED Training Law

Bob Kefgen's picture

UPDATE: MDE has released a brief memo outlining their interpretation of the new law. Districts can access that memo by clicking here. The short version is that the memo mirrors the state statute, so the guidance below remains unchanged and there are not any surprises or curve balls that districts need to worry about beyond the letter of the law.

On December 28, Governor Snyder signed Public Act 233 of 2016 (SB 647), which will embed CPR and AED training as part of Michigan's health content standards for students in grades 7-12. Even though this change will not take affect until the 2017-2018 school year, many Principals are trying to get ahead of the curve and figure out what the new law entails.

As you are working with your health teacher, school nurse, curriculum director, or other educators in your district to plan ahead for the new law, here are some key points to keep in mind.

The Law

The new law does not take effect until 2017-2018. So while you are wise to start thinking ahead, you have plenty of time to figure out the details of how you are going to implement any changes.

The law amends the state content standards for health education rather than imposing a new requirement directly on schools. This distinction is important because it means that:

  • We won't know exactly what these new requirements look like until the Department weighs in. That said, we can make a pretty good guess (see below).
  • The specific curriculum or instruction to be delivered is left up to each local district to determine, provided it meets the requirements of the law. The state content standards dictate knowledge and skills students need to learn, not how schools deliver that information. This means no minimum amount of time that schools need to dedicate to this instruction, no specific materials, etc.
  • Students who have already fulfilled their health education requirements should be unaffected. So schools should not have to worry about students who have already taken their MMC required health class, transfer students who are bringing health credit in from another district, etc.

The law has only a few of specific requirements and the rest is up to local districts. The health content standards must be amended to include instruction in CPR including "the psychomotor skills necessary to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation" and "instruction about automated external defibrillators." The CPR instruction has to be based on (but not identical to) either:

  • "An instructional program developed by the American Red Cross or the American Heart Association," or
  • "Nationally recognized, evidence-based guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation."

This is not a graduation requirement. Students do not have to pass a test or get specific credit. It is not noted on their transcript. In short, this content is treated just like any other content a district delivers.

Students do not need to become certified in CPR. If a school chooses to incorporate certification into their program, they can, but it is not required.

The person delivering this content is not required to have any special training. The law goes out of its way to make clear that the state "shall not require a certificated teacher to be an authorized CPR/AED instructor to facilitate, provide, or oversee instruction" unless the school wants students to earn their certification. It is left up to the local district to determine whether they want to create a program that offers certification.

The CPR/AED instruction can be delivered at any time during grades 7-12.

Next Steps

Districts should wait to see how MDE incorporates these new requirements into the health content standards before finalizing any local curriculum changes to be sure that whatever decisions they make will comply with the law. However, in the meantime, there are some resources available to schools that want to get a start.

  • The new law is short and easy to read. Reviewing the exact language of the new law is probably the best place to start.
  • The American Red Cross publishes all of its training participant materials online FOR FREE. The manuals are comprehensive, full-color .pdf files with illustrations and pictures and include specific text instructions on performing CPR and using an AED. The new law specifically states that that CPR instruction based on a Red Cross instruction program meets the new requirements, so this could be a good place to start to build your curriculum.
  • For districts looking for a plug-and-play option and are willing to spend the money, the American Heart Association (AHA) has a CPR in School Training Kit. SCHOOLS SHOULD WAIT UNTIL MDE FINALIZES THEIR WORK BEFORE SPENDING ANY MONEY, but since the law is clear that CPR instruction based on an AHA instruction program meets the new requirements, you can at least price this option out for your building.