An Accomack County official asked public school administrators to look into offering high school students an emergency medical technician certification program.
Supervisor Paul Muhly at the February board of supervisors meeting spoke about a Dec. 13 memo from James F. Lane, Virginia Superintendent of Public Instruction, which includes information about guidelines for EMT programs in Virginia schools.
The updated guidelines “unify state and national standards and establish consistent EMT program standards to ensure high-quality programs are implemented in high schools and technical centers” across Virginia, according to the memo.
“We as a county and (department of) public safety have needs and we’re constantly training EMTs, but this program is available already statewide,” Muhly said, adding, “It’s something that I hope that the (school) superintendent will look into for our schools here.”
Offering the program “not only…would give a high school graduate a certified skill when they graduate, but it also would increase our labor pool of EMTs for the county,” he said.
Rhonda Hall, assistant superintendent of instruction for Accomack County Public Schools, said several steps would be involved in establishing the new instructional program.
“It’s a process,” she said.
First, a survey needs to be conducted to find out the level of interest, she said.
Additionally, a properly licensed instructor has to be found, along with funding to pay for him or her.
The Virginia Department of Education requires EMT courses offered by high schools to have a course length of 280 hours, or 36 weeks, which is double the time traditional courses require, according to Hall.
Supervisor Ron Wolff said the program could be offered over a two-year period.
Students must be 16 or older to participate, according to the guidelines.
Hall also said additional funding could be needed for facilities and equipment for the program.
The idea of offering the EMT program, “maybe…is something that we can look at, not for this coming year, but for another year,” she said, adding, “…It’s a great opportunity for our students; however, there are some hoops you have to jump through.”
“We know that this takes place in other counties,” Wolff said.