CPR training not just a good idea for teachers: It’s the law

Posted: August 15, 2013

The Winchester Star

D.G Cooley Elementary School third-grade teacher Tanisha Green talks about the CPR class she took Tuesday at Boyce Elementary School. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)
D.G. Cooley Elementary School fifth-grade teacher Tommy Matthews practices CPR as Dorothy Clarke, a Clarke County school nurse and instructor, guides him. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

BOYCE — Tommy Matthews placed his palms on the blue manikin’s chest and pressed down — a bit uncertainly.

“I heard you can break a person’s ribs,” he said afterward.

Matthews, 42, will start this year as a fifth-grade teacher at D.G. Cooley Elementary in Clarke County.

On Tuesday, he and seven other teachers in the division underwent five hours of CPR, first aid and automated external defibrillator (AED) training at Boyce Elementary School in order to meet the guidelines of a law passed in the 2013 General Assembly session.

Effective July 1, every person applying for initial licensure or renewal of a Virginia teaching license needs to provide evidence of completion of certification or training in emergency first aid, CPR and the use of AEDs. Other staff who require a license must also undergo training or certification.

The whole experience is new to Matthews, who thinks he can put the training to good use.

“I got three kids at home, so I’ll be able to help wherever I’m at,” he said.

Tanisha Green, 22, will be a new third-grade teacher at Cooley this year.

“I think [the training] is good,” she said. “You never know when you’re going to need it. It’s better to be prepared.”

Each school division across the state must find a way to provide the training and its cost. Hands-on training is not required by the law.

Clarke County nurse Dorothy Clark doesn’t charge the division for the training, which she includes as part of her salary. The only thing the division has to pay for is the issuance of certification cards, which are $3 each.

Winchester school officials are researching training methods, including online options. The division will pay for the training, and the lowest vendor price thus far is $4 per participant, according to Director of Personnel Donna Eagle.

Frederick County officials are planning to enter into an agreement with a vendor to offer the training through an online resource. There is an initial participation fee of about $500 to use the online module but no other costs, according to Steve Edwards, coordinator of policy, records management and communications.

— Contact Rebecca Layne at rlayne@winchesterstar.com