Troy schools honored by state for keeping up with cardiac preparedness

By: Mary Beth Almond | Troy Times | Published December 23, 2020

Shutterstock image


TROY — Although school has looked a lot different in 2020 due to virtual or hybrid instruction, state officials say preparation for cardiac emergencies is still important.

Michigan Public Act 12 of 2014 requires all schools — kindergarten through 12th grade — to implement a cardiac emergency response plan. Prior to PA 12, there was no way of tracking whether Michigan schools had a cardiac plan in place.

Also in 2014, the Michigan Alliance for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death of the Young, the American Heart Association, and the Michigan departments of Health and Human Services and Education created the MI HeartSafe Schools program to recognize schools that go beyond PA 12 by developing an extensive cardiac emergency plan that meets the MI HeartSafe School guidelines.

“Sudden cardiac death claims the lives of more than 300 Michigan children and young adults annually,” Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, the MDHHS’s chief medical executive and chief deputy for health, said in a statement. “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.”

This year, 111 schools in Michigan were named as MI HeartSafe Schools, a designation that lasts for three years. In order to receive a MI HeartSafe School rating, the school must perform at least one cardiac emergency response drill per year; have a written medical emergency response plan and a medical emergency response team; have a current CPR/automated external defibrillator certification for at least 10% of the staff and 50% of coaches, including 100% of head varsity coaches and 100% of physical education staff; have accessible, properly maintained and inspected AEDs with signs identifying their locations; and ensure all student-athletes are screened using the current physical and history form endorsed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association.

In the Troy School District, the MI HeartSafe School designations of 11 buildings were renewed for 2019-2022: Bemis, Costello, Leonard, Morse, Schroeder and Wass elementary schools; Baker, Boulan Park and Larson middle schools; and Athens and Troy high schools; and the International Academy East Campus.

Troy School District’s preschool program was awarded the designation for the first time during the 2019-2020 school year.

A representative from Troy Schools could not be reached for comment at press time.

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 website.

MAP-SCDY will 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.

State Superintendent Michael Rice said 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.

“Schools that train staff so that the schools become Michigan’s HeartSafe Schools provide an extra measure of safety for their students and staff,” Rice said in a statement.

Approximately 476 schools across the state are currently designated as MI HeartSafe Schools. A list of participating schools is available online.

For more information, visit or email