CPR knowledge now required for BHS graduation

Published on Wed, Dec 4, 2013 by Ian Ferguson

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Beginning in 2017, each Blaine High School (BHS) graduate will know how to perform CPR and use automatic external defibrillators (AEDs). The Blaine school board approved the teaching of the health-saving techniques at its regular board meeting on November 25. The policy brings BHS into compliance with recent state legislation requiring CPR instruction for high school students beginning with the graduating class of 2017. 

“Each student is already required to take a health and fitness class, and this policy makes CPR training a part of that class,” superintendent Ron Spanjer said in a phone interview. Signed into law in May, students are not required to gain CPR certification, so the required course at BHS will likely be an overview, said Spanjer, adding that the option to gain certification might be added in the future.

“We’ll see how it plays forward,” he said.

Student CPR programs are already mandatory in seven states, and Texas and Arizona passed similar legislation earlier this year.

At the November 25 meeting the school board also heard an update on the capital improvement project, and began preliminary planning for future capital improvements campus-wide.

“We’re substantially complete,” said operations manager Jim Kenoyer in a phone interview regarding the renovation of the science building and life skills classrooms. “Everything in the building is operational, and an independent engineer is going through all the systems to make sure they’re working properly.” 

Temporary insulation surrounding the external louvers at the heating/cooling system air intakes will be replaced with permanent insulation this week.

“The supplier is late getting it to us,” Kenoyer said.

Engineers and architects are in the process of completing as-built drawings and operations manuals for all the building’s systems. The school board will sign off on the project when those are complete.

The renovations were the result of a bond measure that voters passed in February 2012. Prior to issuing that bond, the school district attempted to pass two other initiatives that failed to gain at least 60 percent of voter approval.

According to a school board report, upgrades to the high school facility are the highest priority for future capital improvements. Expanded facilities to meet the needs of an all-day, everyday kindergarten and a number of roofing and parking lot resurfacing issues are also priorities for future capital improvements
. The board has tasked Spanjer with enlisting a Facility Review Task Force during the 2013/13 school year, with the ultimate goal of summarizing facility needs.

“The facility as a whole is past its prime,” Spanjer said, referring to the high school. “Through the 2008 and 2011 bonding, nobody disagreed that [upgrades to the high school] needed to be done. It was just a matter of timing.”

The 2012 bond is scheduled to be paid off by 2016. Any future bonds are not contemplated until the 2018/19 school year at the earliest Even if a bond measure supporting upgrades to the high school were approved in the next 12-18 months, a new high school would not be completed until the 2018/19 school year at the earliest, Spanjer said.

“It takes time to plan that out, so we’re getting the planning started now,” he said. “That conversation will be ongoing.”

The school board also recognized the work of Sabrina Ooms, Lane Renskers, Branden Millsap and Todd Berge who volunteer as EMTs at football games.

“While we’ve been fortunate that there haven’t been many injuries at football games over the years, it’s reassuring to know the team is there and we appreciate their constancy,” school board chair Susan Holmes said.

* Corrections added December 6, 2013. We regret the errors.