State-mandated CPR certification for graduation assigned during summer school health; 93 seniors still need to complete video assignment

Senior+Elijah+Ramirez+demonstrates+CPR+chest+compressions+on+a+pillow+on+Sept.+30++in+his+dining+room+as+a+replacement+for+a+dummy+or+a+stuffed+animal.+Ramirez+had+to+video+record+himself+practicing+hands-on+CPR+and+submit+a+video+for+review%2Fapproval+by+assistant+principal+Hilda+Arredondo+to+fulfill+a+state-mandated+graduation+requirement.

Imaged used with permission from Elijah Ramirez

Senior Elijah Ramirez demonstrates CPR chest compressions on a pillow on Sept. 30 in his dining room as a replacement for a dummy or a stuffed animal. Ramirez had to video record himself practicing hands-on CPR and submit a video for review/approval by assistant principal Hilda Arredondo to fulfill a state-mandated graduation requirement.

Rachel Yun

In an attempt to get students to fulfill their CPR training graduation requirement sooner, school  officials have decided to include it as an assignment through the online summer health course.

 “It will be an assignment given through health, but students will still need to upload a video to a Google Form,” said assistant principal Hilda Arredondo, who initiated this change for all who took health this past summer.

To complete this assignment, students must watch a 45-minute video explaining how CPR is done. After viewing it, they must in turn video record themselves performing hands-on compression on a doll or a stuffed animal and then upload that file onto a Google Form.  

Seniors who have yet to fulfill this state-mandated graduation requirement received an Aug. 31 email from Arredondo stating that they must watch the instructional video provided as a link and upload their short video by Sept. 30. 

As of Tuesday, Oct. 5, Arredondo said only 93 of the 599 seniors have not completed this assignment. An email reminder that included the original correspondence from Arredondo with a new deadline of Oct. 29 was sent to those 93 earlier today.

Juniors who have yet to meet this graduation requirement will be able to do so when they are seniors, she said.

 Before the coronavirus pandemic, students originally had achieved their certification during their physical education classes. In the spring semester of 2009, less than 200 seniors – many of whom were athletes and never took PE – had to report to the gym to learn about CPR and demonstrate compressions on a doll.

That training couldn’t happen again in the gym because of health and safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. So during the 2020-2021 school year of distance/hybrid learning, seniors who needed to fulfill this graduation requirement were informed of it through their Government or Economics classes; those who don’t have either of these social science courses received a direct email about the assignment from Arredondo.

“Before, it was done during PE so then it was taking up that time, [but] we found that [the videos and online format] worked great during distance learning, so we decided to allow students to take it when it was most convenient for them and upload it, which would also leave a record [of completion],” the assistant principal said. 

Senior Samantha Benudiz, who completed her CPR certification over the summer through the online health course, preferred the video upload format rather than an in-person setting to learn CPR. 

“Although it felt uncomfortable and awkward during the process, I’m glad I got it done,” Benudiz said. “I prefer the online setting because I could mess up, and nobody would be watching.”

Senior Julian Matuszewski, who was among those who originally received Arredondo’s Aug. 31 email, said the online platform was efficient because it allowed him to complete his certification on his own time.

“Completing the certification at home made it easier for me because I could do it at my own pace in a comfortable setting,” Matuszewski said. “It’s great that I could finish this early in the year rather than having to wait.”

Despite an online setting allowing much room for inconsistency and an ambiguous criteria, the change in fulfilling this graduation requirement has relatively been a smooth process, Arredondo said. 

“There have been students whose videos I wasn’t able to see that it was them or things of that nature,” she said. “But this new format hasn’t been an issue.”