MI HEARTSafe designation given to 111 schools for 2019-2020 school year during COVID-19 epidemic
596 schools receive designation over seven-year history

November 30, 2020
Contact: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Departments of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) and Education (MDE), American Heart Association, Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) and Michigan Alliance for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young (MAP-SCDY) are recognizing 111 schools for the 2019-2020 school year for keeping up with preparedness efforts.

Even though school looks different this year with virtual or hybrid instruction, preparation for cardiac emergencies is still important. Since the MI HEARTSafe School Program began in 2013, 596 school buildings have been recognized. To receive a MI HEARTSafe School designation, schools must have:

  • A written medical emergency response plan and team that can respond to an emergency during school hours and after-school activities and sports.
  • Current CPR/AED certification of at least 10 percent of staff and 50 percent of coaches, including 100 percent of head varsity coaches and P.E. staff.
  • Accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying locations.
  • Annual cardiac emergency response drills.
  • Pre-participation sports screening of all student athletes using the current physical and history form endorsed by MHSAA..

“Sudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 300 Michigan children and young adults annually,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Although much of the focus this year has been on COVID-19, ensuring our schools are prepared for cardiac emergencies is still of vital importance and can save lives.

Keeping up with the MI HEARTSafe School criteria is vital for maintaining a safe environment even if school is not in session in the traditional form. Resources to help meet the criteria during the COVID-19 pandemic is available on the MI HEARTSafe School website. MAP-SCDY will also be hosting a virtual workshop to educate schools on how to become a MI HEARTSafe School including program implementation, tips on how to perform virtual drills and more.

“Whether or not students and staff are in schools or are teaching and learning at a distance, it’s essential to prepare to respond to sudden cardiac emergencies,” said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice. “Schools that train staff so that the schools become Michigan’s HEARTSafe schools provide an extra measure of safety for their students and staff.”

This is MI HEARTSafe Schools program’s seventh year. The designation lasts for three years, and this year 10 schools received their third MI HEARTSafe award. Currently, 476 schools are designated as MI HEARTSafe Schools.

A list of participating schools is available online. For more information about the
MI HEARTSafe Schools program, visit Migrc.org/miheartsafe or email MDHHS-MI-HEARTSafe@michigan.gov.

# # #