USSA MESS Course Prepares Sports Medicine Professionals for More Challenging Work

USSA MESS Course Prepares Sports Medicine Professions for More Challenging Work

Those in the Sports Medicine profession, especially those that deal with snow-related activities, know that it’s more than ankle tape, cuts, and bruises when caring for athletes. Injuries can get real and intense in a blink. We know that practice makes perfect, and this readiness and preparation is no different. This past May, the Medical Emergencies in Skiing and Snowboarding course (MESS) provided education and skill development for the those in the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Medical Pool. During this course, participants learned about acute injury triage and illness commonly seen when traveling with elite level teams. Even in the summertime, this course, developed for PTs, ATs, MDs, and POs, offered unique insight into how to assist athletes who play winter sports.

Dr. Jaron Santelli, the Sports Medicine Director at the United States Ski and Snowboarding Association (USSA), was one of the leaders of this course.

“Standing on the side of the hill and working in cold environments is different than responding to an injury on a basketball court or a football field,” Santelli said. “Since we have a variety of specialties, there are different skill sets, so this is a way to upscale the providers with the skill we need them to know.”

The MESS course is specifically designed for professional volunteer staff and provides a Continuing Medical Education (CME) for physicians and medical providers, which is a requirement to join this medical pool.

Santelli shares a passion for sports, athletes, and their safety. Her experience and education as an emergency medicine doctor provides important insight for properly responding to emergencies on the slopes.

“I went to medical school with the intention to be in sports medicine. I have been around sports and snowboarding my whole life from Division I to the professional level. When the USSA job was available, I saw an opportunity to give back to a community that has always been there for me.”

Skiing and Snowboarding are individual sports, so USSA athletes are always working towards accomplishing challenging individual goals, which makes the day-to-day and culture a bit different than if they were playing a team sport.

“We have numerous sports within USSA, so we are always dealing with different cultures, athlete population, and ages,” Santelli said. “These athletes are true craftsmen and professionals in their field and there is something special about watching them work towards something like the Olympics.”

School Health was a sponsor of the MESS course and has a growing relationship with USSA as they work together to make sure the athletes are receiving quality treatment with the best equipment possible.

“School health has provided not only support in coverage, but also, they provide a lot of our medical equipment. They are always generous in terms of donations and improvements in our products. We look forward to this continued partnership and increasing that partnership in the future.”

School Health provides these items to keep USSA well equipped:

·        Pocket BVM with Black Case

·        Aer Cervical Collar

·        Fasplint Vacuum Extremity Splints

·        Fasplint Fullbody Mattress Set

·        5.11 Tactical Emergency Ready Pouch and Bag

The USSA hosts the MESS course in January of next year. Check back here for updates.

ABCD Funding Formula to Acquire Health and PE Funding

ABCD Funding Formula to Acquire Health and PE Funding

By: Dr. Kim Morton

Did you know hundreds of federal dollars go unspent every year in school districts? Some of the reasons include delayed access to the funds, a nationwide teacher shortage, and a desire to make the money last. 

When I served as a district health and PE coordinator for a large urban school district in North Carolina, I never bought into the common excuse made by most school leaders: “We don’t have the money.” In my opinion, school funding is not the problem. It is the allocation of it that is the greater issue. To ensure federal funding is spent on supporting the needs of students, every school or district requires a health and PE advocate. 

To help nudge my federal funding department to spend some of our district’s federal funds on health and PE, I created and applied the ABCD funding formula. In over five years, I was able to obtain over $4 million in federal funds to purchase curriculum, PE and strength training equipment, instructional resources, professional development, and hire staff to instruct summer learning sessions. 

The first step before applying the ABCD funding formula is to know exactly what you want and how much it would cost. In other words, be ready to submit product names, descriptions, and costs to your federal funding department. If you need a quote, a School Health Specialist can help.


ABCD Federal Funding Formula for Health and Physical Education Requests


A = Align

Align your budget request with district messaging. Include language from your district’s strategic plan. For example, if one of your district's initiatives is to increase mental, social, and emotional goals, then be sure to explain how your budget request fosters social, emotional, and collaborative student activities.



B = Budget Source

Be sure to provide a possible budget source(s) with your request. This way, it provides guidance to your federal funding department regarding which budget sources can be used for your request. You do not need to be a budget expert, but you need enough knowledge to make it difficult to deny your request. Below are some examples of budget sources that can help you get started:

  1. Title I Federal Funding provides financial assistance and program support to schools with high numbers of children from low income-families.
  2. Title II Federal Funding can be spent on:
    1. Staff development
    2. Workshop expenses (this includes PE equipment and curriculum being used in the workshop training)
    3. Coaching
    4. Mentoring
    5. Recruitment
    6. Residency programs
    7. Induction program
  3. Title IV-part A can be spent on:
    1. Curriculum
    2. PE and Strength Training equipment
    3. Student resources
    4. Evidence-based PD
    5. Registration
    6. Travel costs
    7. Certified salaries and benefits
  4. ESSER II (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Funds must be used through September 30, 2023, and can be spent on:
    1. Covid-19 supplies
    2. Summer learning
    3. Educational technology
    4. Supplemental after-school programs
    5. Addressing needs of low-income students
  5. ARP (American Rescue Plan) ESSER III (Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief) Funds must be used through September 30, 2024, and can be spent on:
    1. Activities to address needs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic
    2. Implementing public health protocols
    3. 20% must address learning loss



C = Compelling Story

Make it hard for them to say “No.” Give them details of your budget request (purpose and how it will be used) and connect them emotionally. You want to inform your reader, but also inspire them to take action. For example, if you are seeking to purchase CPR manikins you would want to state, “performing CPR in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”



D = Data

Identify student learning gaps and needs. Moreover, use local data to help decision makers “see” how your budget request can help address a local issue. For example, if you are requesting to purchase BRAINball™, your messaging should include how this product can increase your district’s reading and math scores. If you are requesting fitness equipment, you can pull student fitness data from WELNET® online software, indicating the percentage of students who met or did not meet fitness measurements. 


Assert Your Case

Be prepared to showcase all the evidence and support needed for how funding can benefit not only your students, but also your school and district. To ensure federal funding is spent on supporting students’ physical, mental, emotional, and social needs, it is necessary for every school or district to have a health and PE advocate who is willing to work towards meeting these goals. Contact School Health to learn more about ESSER funding.

Building a Safe and Positive Athletic Program


In the previous blog, we discussed the unnecessary hardships that athletes face while on their sports teams. This is created through a negative culture and poor communication between athletes and staff. Now it is time to focus on what can be done to build a successful sports program that makes safety and positivity a priority. This can be achieved by all members of the staff and the athletes collaborating, listening, and understanding each other’s perspectives.

First and foremost, listen to the athletes. They are the glue. When athletes are not happy and healthy, there is no team. Believe them if they say they are hurt, pay attention when they seem down, understand what type of coaching they respond to. Being on the same page with athletes goes beyond just the game. Knowing athletes as people is arguably more important and will improve their experience in their programs.

The staff can learn just as much from the athletes through the course of the season. Having positive and frequent communication with all personnel, such as athletic trainers and sports psychologists is essential for a team. Everyone’s bodies and minds work differently, so it is important to find what’s best and the team’s medical staff can find those solutions. Trust them as much as you trust your athletes in a game; odds are, they were all athletes at one point as well. Coaches can benefit from using the resources around them to assist athletes in finding their individual paths to achieve a common goal.

Individual needs are important, but practice is where teams grow collectively. Create an atmosphere with strong work ethic and positivity. A difficult task does not need to be so serious. The workouts and drills that I have done in a positive atmosphere have been some of the most productive. Being serious all the time takes a toll on everyone and can result in burnout, and the dog days of the season can become grueling. Friendly competition and positive reinforcement help make a comfortable atmosphere. Hard is more achievable when you want to be there and play for a team that you want to succeed. Athletes won’t think twice about running that extra lap or doing an extra rep when they are bought into the common goal of a program.

Coaches should also walk the walk of the program they establish. They should be who they want their athletes to be. A coach who the players trust and look up to is the final piece to a successful program. Enabling what has been discussed so far is a great start to building a team athletes want to be a part of. Athletes may be representing a school or some other organization, and while that does matter, at the end of the day they play for each other and the coach.

If more athletic programs molded their philosophies around these practices, we would not be hearing about athletes falling out of love with their sport. Being safe and enjoying what you do is just as important as winning. Athletic programs with a positive, safe environment where everyone feels they have a voice can help steer towards a path of success and provide athletes and staff experiences that they will never forget, for all the right reasons.

Athletic Training: An Athlete's Perspective


Playing college basketball became my goal when I was about 10 years old. I was scrawny, scared of contact, and honestly just not a good player, so I knew I had an uphill battle. I have been told thousands of times to push yourself to the limit to see progress, so that’s what I did from then, until the last time I left the floor. I achieved my goal, which really set the tone for my work ethic the rest of my life, but I beat my body to the ground. I played through injuries and didn’t tell anybody, and I overworked myself. I always told myself that it was the right thing to do because I’m supposed to “embrace the suck”-turns out I was just stubborn and didn’t want anything to halt my progress. But whether I knew it or not, it did. I don’t regret anything about my achievement, but I regret not taking care of myself and not listening to my athletic trainers throughout the duration of my career.

Fast forward to now and I find myself as a high school basketball coach. When I first arrived, I began to see a few players with my old habits, which is good and bad. The moment I noticed, I knew that one of my main priorities would be to keep them fresh, make sure they utilize our athletic trainers, and create an atmosphere where they can speak up if they are hurting. In my short time as a coach, I have learned that good communication between coaches, players, and athletic trainers is so essential, and I truly wish it was more present when I was a player. Since I am only about three years removed from being an athlete, that communication is still something that lacks in many athletic programs, and there is still major room for improvement. Good communication makes a player feel safe, respected, and most importantly, healthy.

Some of this poor communication stems from lack of trust, mostly between the coach and the athletic trainer. This is the something that bothered me a lot when I was a player, especially when I was at the college level. Concussion protocols are a great example. I have witnessed a coach get angry at an athletic trainer because they concluded that my teammate had suffered a concussion. It was not a hard fall, but concussion protocol is strict, as it should be. These actions enable a culture of fear for athletes because it does not allow the athletic trainer to do their job with confidence and makes the player think they should play through almost anything. A player’s health should always be prioritized over winning.

Communicating with your athletic trainers about what they need is also important. The high school level is often guilty of having underequipped athletic training rooms. While most high schools may not have the budget to have every piece of equipment imaginable, quality equipment for basic treatments should be a priority. Just because the athletes are young, doesn’t mean they don’t need any extensive treatment or rehab. Many young athletes can have their sport lead them to a free education, and even a career for the lucky few. The way an athlete is taken care of early on, effects the duration at which they can perform at an elite level.

Coaches, athletic trainers, and their departments should be doing everything they can to take care of their athletes and be a steppingstone to whatever their goal may be. Trust, good communication, and using your budget to ensure safe environments can reassure an athlete that they are in good hands. Working together to create a culture where safety is a priority can bring success to athletes, confidence for an athletic trainer, and better collaboration within the coaching staff.

NATM 2022: Why Do You Love Being an Athletic Trainer?


NATM 2022: Why Do You Love Being an Athletic Trainer?

National Athletic Training Month may have come to an end, but we won’t stop celebrating you! We want to give a huge thank you to all the athletic trainers who joined the #SHNATM22 conversation on our Sports Medicine social media pages, showed off their AT spirit, and shared stories about why they love what they do.

We understand that the role of an athletic trainer has changed a lot in the last few years due to the pandemic. Besides providing essential care for athletes, many athletic trainers were also asked to be contact tracers for their schools or districts, help track immunization status among students and school staff, and so much more. Through these changes, many ATs continued to follow their passion to help athletes succeed on and off the field.

We recently asked you to share why you love being an athletic trainer. Check out some of the stories you shared with us on social media during National Athletic Training Month!

“I love being an AT for a lot of reasons, but one thing that never gets old is when an athlete in pain gets excited when something simple fixes their pain. I love being able to teach them easy ways to take care of their bodies that they can then take with them for life.  – wahisportsmed

I love being an athletic trainer when I see my students go on to become ATs… I especially love it when student-athletes come back and say that high school ATs work the hardest compared to the college and professional level ATs, because we cover all the sports and all the athletes – usually working with hundreds of athletes and giving them all the time that they need – heidi.s.bower

There are so many reasons why I love being an athletic trainer. I love when my student-athletes come back to visit me and tell me how I was the biggest mentor in their life while in high school. The most heartwarming memory I have is when my student-athlete’s mom hugged me and was so grateful for me saving her son’s life. I love my profession! – aperow24

A few years after I left grad school, I got a text from the parent of a previous student that said, “Just wanted to check in and see if this number was still yours. We miss you and hope you’re doing well.” We went back and forth catching up, and it was so nice to see the impact I made in my first year as an athletic trainer! – sarahw3317

I love being an AT for several reasons, but the biggest must be watching athletes return to play after sustaining an injury. The rehab process can be difficult and can diminish spirits. However, watching the athletes finally return makes it so special. I think I’m their biggest fan! – megcoughlin.11

Making memories and supporting athletes through their ups and downs is why I love being an athletic trainer. – Peter Sands

I think there are a lot of reasons that we all love being ATs, and that have made us stay in the profession. But I think my favorite part is the connections that I make with the athletes I work with and seeing them grow as they become more mature adults. I truly love helping teach these young adults how to properly take care of their body, both physically and mentally. It’s great knowing that I’m working in a profession that impacts so many young minds that are ready to enter the world. – megz0623

School Health supports athletic trainers across the country by providing the proper equipment and resources, so you can provide your athletes with the best care. As always, thank you for everything you do to help keep athletes safe on and off the field!


What Should You do in a Heat Illness Emergency?


During periods of training and conditioning, such as the fall pre-season, instances of heat-related illnesses and emergencies in student-athletes increase. Over the summer, periods of intense heat cause concern not only for sports teams, but also for those who do not use proper protection from the heat and the sun. According to Cleveland Clinic, statistics about student-athletes say that around 9,000 cases of heat-related illnesses occur per year. In football, these cases are 11.4 times higher than all other sports combined. It is important to be aware of the causes and symptoms of heat-related illness and stay prepared in case of an emergency.

According to the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA), the most common definition of heat illness includes three categories: heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. However, there are also other classifications of heat illness, such as heat syncope.

Depending on the type of heat illness, symptoms may vary, but some indicators include:

  •  High body temperature (above 105 degrees Fahrenheit)
  •  Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Heavy sweating
  • Cold, pale, and clammy skin
  • Fainting

What to do in an Emergency

Emergencies can and do happen, so having the proper plan in place is essential to prevent further harm or injury to an athlete. The first step is to recognize that the athlete is suffering from exertional heat illness. NATA states that a rectal thermometer is the only way to get a fast and accurate measurement of an athlete’s core body temperature. A temperature of 105 degrees Fahrenheit or above is an indicator of an emergency.

NATA also recommends the “cool first, transport second” method, meaning that if an athlete’s core body temperature is 105 degrees or more, sports staff must get the player’s temperature down to 102.5 degrees before they can be taken to a hospital. NATA says that the best way to quickly cool down the athlete is through a full-body cold water emersion. Cooling tubs or other water immersion devices are essential for this process. 

After a heat-related emergency occurs, athletes should work with their physicians to create a plan that will allow them to safely return to their sport.


Preventing a Heat-Related Emergency

Luckily, heat-related emergencies are highly preventable if the proper training and procedures are followed.

One of the best ways to reduce the risk of illness is through heat acclimation. In other words, allow your athletes to get used to the heat by slowly increasing the amount of outdoor exercise. It’s also important to monitor the temperature and humidity outside, pay attention to how long athletes are playing and practicing, and allow them to take a break or rest.

Athletic Trainers, Athletic Directors, and sports staff should always make sure that there are plenty of hydration options for their athletes as well. Ensuring that athletes are staying hydrated before, during, and after practices and events is key. Athletes can also enhance their performance and reduce the risk of illness by getting the proper amount of sleep and eating a balanced diet.

If you are looking for the right heat illness prevention equipment for your sports medicine program, School Health can help you find everything you need to keep your athletes safe. Contact us today!



Athletic Trainers Share Their Stories About How a Fellow AT Influenced and Inspired Them

Each March we celebrate the hard work and dedication that our Athletic Trainers put into their roles. While this past year has been full of uncertainty and change, each of you have made an impact in the lives of your athletes, students, staff, and communities. As schools work toward a full return to play, we owe you all a huge thank you for your continued support and dedication to your roles as Athletic Trainers. We wish you all a happy National Athletic Training Month!


This National Athletic Trainer Month,  we invited you to tell your story about how a fellow Athletic Trainer inspired and influenced you or made innovations in the field. We then randomly chose one entry per week to win a prize. Our grand prize winners both received Therabody Theragun Elites! You can read the winning entries below:


The winner of our first prize was Tiffany from Grapevine High School.

Tiffany nominated Kamden saying, “Kamden has taken a small 4A school and brought new innovations to it when taking over. He was promoted to be the head athletic trainer going into a COVID year, which has been tough on all of us. As he was being promoted, they also eliminated an athletic trainer position from the school. So, he's had to navigate through being a new Head Athletic Trainer, while downsizing, in the middle of a pandemic. During this time, he has built even more trust from his community. He even managed to secure enough sponsorship to purchase a SideLinER for his school, making it only one of two schools in the area to have one. This advancement is huge because these privacy tents are becoming the gold standard of care. Ensuring his student athletes in a small rural community are receiving the same care as the student athletes in bigger schools is a win for the entire community.

The winner of our second prize was Leslie from Impact Baseball.

Leslie nominated Charlene saying, “I want to nominate a fellow colleague and friend of mine, Charlenne Medina. Charlenne has impacted the athletic training community by participating in the California Athletic Trainer's Association and in the Far West Athletic Trainer's Association and has advocated for licensure and placement of  athletic trainers 's at secondary schools. In the  athletic training community, she has worked with youth sports to collegiate athletes, while also fulfilling the roles of a preceptor in the CSULB Athletic Training program. Outside of her work as an Athletic Trainer, she also assisted and helped firefighters in the California fires last year by providing First Responder services as an EMT. after certification, she assisted in her EMT program to help other students learn new skills. She is a hard worker and has inspired many, including myself, to take our profession further. She deserves to be recognized for all she has done in her early career!”

The winner of our third prize was James from Conway High School.

James nominated Lorin saying, “My nominee is Lorin, a Retired Athletic Trainer and Athletic Director at Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Lorin gave me my first job out of college and inspired me to become a volunteer leader within my state, district, and National Athletic Trainer Associations. While I only worked with Lorin for two years before leaving for another job, her activism and volunteer spirit gave me the confidence and knowledge to become a leader myself and I am forever grateful for her mentorship, influence, and continued friendship some 30 years later.”

The winner of our fourth prize was Nicole from Mountain View HS.

Nicole nominated Jessica saying, “Jessica is the most amazing athletic trainer I have ever had the experience of working with here at Mountain View High School. She helped to pilot a program that would offer physical therapy treatments to our student athletes during their study hall classes. This program decreased student absences and recovery time for students and teachers within the school building. She keeps open channels of communication between the students, parents, coaches, teachers, counselors, and the school nurse to facilitate and initiate concussion protocols so the students can return to learning and participating in activities in a timely manner. She answers her cell phone day and night to ensure that our students receive the best care in all of the nation. Jessica decided to pursue her Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine in the last couple of years and had to take a break from being the athletic trainer at our school.  She currently works at Northside Hospital Sports Medicine and will hopefully finish her degree from which she has had to take a break for personal reasons. Students from the school still go to her for guidance and therapy as we no longer have the programs that she instituted during her presence.”

The winners of our grand prize are April from Miami Southridge SHS and Linette from John A. Ferguson SHS.

April shares, “The Athletic Trainer that inspired me to pursue this profession is Mrs. Linette the head ATC at John A. Ferguson SHS. When I was in 11th grade, I did not pass my sports physical due to a heart murmur. I was not able to participate in basketball that year but remembered that the season prior I spent a lot of time in the Athletic Training Room due to injuries and [ worked on] preventing those injuries from re-occurring. So, I decided to ask her if I could become her student athletic trainer and learn from her. To my amazement she said yes! She taught me everything that I  needed and wanted to know. She taught me the importance of seeing beyond the injury and helping the person fully, since injuries can affect mental health as well. She taught me different ways of taping injuries and how to assess them at the same time. I was in the sports medicine academy in high school and won the Sports Medicine Award in both my 11th and 12th grade years. The coaches also trusted me with taking care of their student athletes in case she was not present. I graduated high school and went off to college, but she always allowed me to come back and intern for her. She helped me out when I wanted to quit school and told me that anything is possible if you keep your eye on what you want. I graduated and took my BOC test before anyone in my class and passed! She took me on as her assistant Athletic Trainer that fall. Just a couple months later there was an opening at a high school for an ATC and she helped me apply. I am now not only her prodigy, but also her friend and colleague. We learn from each other and are always there for each other. She's inspired me to become a better student, teacher, athletic trainer, and most of all, a better person. I care for my athletes’ whole well-being just like how she taught me. Every day when I come to work, I always think back on that day in 11th grade when she took me on and how it molded me to become just like her.”

We want to thank everyone who participated in our giveaway! We loved hearing your stories and appreciate all you do!


Equipment Guidelines and Recommendations for Reopening Your Facilities

While states, counties, and individual school districts continue to release guidelines for re-entry, the transition from remote to in-person learning can have its difficulties. While PPE, infection prevention, and thermometry may be at the top of your mind, there are several pieces of equipment and areas of your buildings that may be overlooked.

With buildings empty for months, some of your school’s infection prevention and emergency supplies may need to be checked and updated. It is imperative for schools and facilities to have the proper equipment in case of an emergency, especially amid a pandemic. Below we have a brief outline of areas of your building that may require updates to equipment, additional cleaning protocols, or a change in normal operation.

The CDC’s K-12 Schools COVID-19 Mitigation Toolkit can be a great tool to implement mitigation strategies to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This toolkit includes strategies, checklists, resources, and more. 


General Equipment Check

AEDs - 

Research has shown that there might be a correlation between COVID-19 and the heart. In some studies, patients who had the virus also experienced heart inflammation. One study, which focused on student athletes at The Ohio State University, showed that many of the athletes who were diagnosed with COVID-19 had symptoms of myocarditis, too. As new information emerges about how the virus impacts overall health, it is important to be prepared in case of a cardiac emergency. Performing a comprehensive AED readiness check can help ensure your facility is ready. 

  • Verify that the AED batteries are working.
  • Check the service indicator light.
  • Check for any wear and tear on the AED.
  • Ensure that AED pads and accessories are not expired.
  • Consider adding additional AEDs in high traffic areas such as hallways, main building entrances, gymnasiums, cafeterias, auditoriums, and nurse’s office.

Air Filtrations and Filters - 

Air purification and filtration in schools has been a highly discussed topic, but there are still many questions as to its effectiveness against COVID-19. However, airborne infection is 15-20 times more likely to occur indoors than outdoors.  For schools, experts also suggest that stronger filters for existing ventilation systems are a higher priority than providing individual purifiers for each classroom.

  • Review any known issues and check for water leaks or mold growth.
  • Look for any covered diffusers, closed supply diffusers, blocked return grilles, etc.
  • Make sure fans and portable devices are not blowing from one person on to another.
  • Operate all HVAC systems in occupied mode at least one week before reopening if the systems have been shut down for an extended period of time.

For more information on ventilation in Schools and Childcare settings, visit the CDC’s website for building recommendations.

To see a comprehensive guide for how to prepare your ventilation systems, visit the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers to see their full guidance on reopening schools and universities.

Oxygen Availability - 

Twenty-five percent of 911 emergencies in schools are due to breathing issues. Breathing emergencies can be caused by anxiety attacks, asthma attacks, cardiac arrest, food allergies, and more. With COVID-19, some severe cases of the virus led to patients having problems breathing as well. Therefore, schools should have emergency oxygen devices available in the case of a breathing emergency.

  • Check shelf life of the oxygen if there is a date.
  • Check condition of disposable oxygen masks, tubing, and other accessories.

Disposable Products, Disinfectants & PPE - 

Another major consideration before reopening is the ability to provide PPE for students and staff. According to one estimate from ASBO International, it may cost some districts up to $148,190 to provide disposable masks for students who do not bring them from home and another $44,415 for staff. The organization also estimates spending about $1,440 on gloves for custodians. Besides protective apparel, it is also important that schools have effective hand sanitizers, disinfectant sprayers, and cleaners. For a more detailed checklist, see the CDC’s Considerations for K-12 Schools.

  • Replace expired hand sanitizer and make sure that it has at least 60% alcohol.
  • Consider investing in electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and effective cleaners.
  • Have a supply of gloves and masks for students and staff.
  • Store all cleaning equipment away from children.

Autoinjectors & Inhalers for Allergies - 

According to the National Association of School Nurses, students may be eating in places other than the cafeteria due to social distancing rules. To avoid anaphylaxis, NASN recommends that students with known allergies always carry their autoinjectors with them, and that those with asthma continue taking their medications.

  • Ensure that there is a supply of unexpired epinephrine available, extra syringes, disposable spacers and rescue inhalers.

Water Systems - 

After time away and reduced operation of normal water usage, it is important to take the proper health and safety measures to ensure your drinking water is free from lead or copper exposure or any other diseases associated with water.


Areas in Need of Special Attention

Entrance - 

A building’s entrance can be one of the most highly trafficked areas. Having a designated station for symptom and temperature checking at your entrance can help reduce the chances of an outbreak and limit building capacity while allowing for easy documentation.

Tips for building entrances:

  • Post signs and messages in highly visible locations that promote everyday protective measures like mask use and hand washing.
  • Have a designated healthcare professional help with contact tracing, taking temperatures, and symptom checking.
  • Consider thermal imaging / infrared cameras for a more reliable and faster temperature reading.
  • Limit nonessential visitors, volunteers, and activities that involve external groups or organizations coming into the building.
  • Using Electronic Health Record Systems can help organize health records, monitor outbreaks, and keep track of Individual Healthcare Plans (IHPs), Medicaid documentation, vaccinations, and more.

Transportation - 

School Busses operating at a smaller capacity should still take proper precautions when it comes to social distancing and proper cleaning.

Tips for school transportation:

  • Check students’ temperatures at the front door before a student gets on the bus.
  • Students should keep their face protection on the whole time they are in the vehicle.
  • Consider keeping a box of disposable face coverings in the front of the bus for any student who may forget theirs.
  • Students should stagger seating from row to row and drivers can help organize seating by marking off every other seat.
  • If possible and weather permitting, allow bus windows and/or roof hatch to remain open while transporting students to increase air flow.

Classroom and Instructional Areas - 

As an area where students spend most of their day, the classroom can be a breeding ground for germs and poor air circulation. Aside from a more intense surface cleaning regimen, making sure the classrooms’ ventilation systems are updated and running properly with new filtration can lower the chance of airborne infection.

Tips for classroom cleaning, social distancing, and ventilation:

  • Use a non-toxic cleaner to disinfect frequently touched surfaces including desks and doorknobs.
  • Limit the use of shared items and encourage hand washing and/or sanitizing before and after use.
  • Keep students’ belongings separated from others’ and in individually labeled containers, cubbies, desks, or other areas.
  • Space seating and desks at least six feet apart, facing one direction instead of facing each other, and use partitions when necessary.
  • Bring in as much outdoor air as possible by opening windows and doors to the outside and/or hallways.
  • Consider running your HVAC system at maximum outside airflow for 2 hours before and after the building is occupied.
  • Use portable air cleaners that use high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to enhance air cleaning in higher-risk areas.

Nurse’s Office and Isolation Room - 

While developing COVID-19 symptoms is a serious call for concern, there are still a number of other reasons students make the trip to the school nurse, whether it be routine daily medication, diabetic check-ins, or other illnesses. Isolating students in a separate room/area who show symptoms of COVID-19 can help reduce traffic and maintain social distancing in the nurse’s office.

  • School Nurses and other healthcare professionals should follow the proper infection prevention and control recommendations from the CDC and wear the proper protective apparel.
  • Consider setting up an isolation room for students who experience COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Parents or guardians should be contacted to transport sick students home as soon as possible.
  • Areas used by an individual who developed symptoms should be cleaned and disinfected immediately.
  • Students, teachers, and staff who have been in close contact (within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a period of 24 hours) of someone with COVID-19 should not return to the building until they have completed their quarantine.
  • COVID-19 tests can be administered in the facility without having to wait to schedule one outside of school.
  • Parents, staff, and local health officials should be notified immediately of any cases of COVID-19 in the building.
  • Stock both the nurse’s office and isolation room with disinfectant, hand washing area, furniture, and other PPE and infection prevention supplies.
  • Portable carts can be a great way to provide care to students and keep them out of the confined space of the nurse's office. Carry everything you need to do classroom visits, temperature checks, screenings, and more.

Hallways - 

In normal circumstances, school hallways can be high-traffic areas, especially between class periods, lunchtime, and before and after school. Making changes to the normal traffic pattern in hallways can be essential in reducing the spread of airborne particles.  

  • Place hand sanitizing stations/dispensers at classroom entrances, restrooms, and in high traffic areas.
  • Reduce the number of students and staff in the halls at once by adjusting class passing periods and limiting time spent at lockers/cubbies.
  • Establish one-way traffic routes using floor tape, floor signs, or other physical distance markers to help maintain safe distancing.

Restrooms - 

Restrooms are one of the most widely shared common spaces and can be an area where germs can spread quickly. Encouraging all students and staff to thoroughly wash their hands can be one way to prevent the spread of germs.

  • Facility restrooms should be cleaned multiple times throughout the day, and including heavily touched areas such as doorknobs, faucet handles, and toilet levers.
  • Social distancing can be maintained by blocking off stalls and sinks that do not have partitions or some sort of separation.

Physical Education and Facilities - 

For children and adolescents, physical exercise is shown to elevate self-esteem, improve concentration, reduce depressive symptoms, improve sleep, and more. It can also have great benefits to overall health and wellness which is extremely important to help promote healthy lifestyles and boost the body’s ability to fight off illness and infection.

  • Physical Education settings should adhere to the school, district, and state guidelines to promote the health and safety of students.
  • Choose activities that require little-to-no physical contact between students.
  • Conduct physical activity outside if weather permits.
  • Reduce equipment sharing and consider using personal PE kits for each student.
  • Use floor markers and spots to promote traffic flows and physical distancing between students.
  • Keep doors and windows open whenever possible to maximize circulation and airflow due to increased respiration by students during physical activity.

View Shape America’s School Reentry Considerations for more information to help administrators, staff, and teachers prepare an environment for safe and supportive instruction.

Athletic Trainers: Room, Facilities, and Return-to-Sport - 

Athletic Trainers play an important role in bridging health and safety recommendations into practice. While many pre-pandemic precautions have remained the same, Athletic Trainers have begun working in collaboration with school officials and other medical professionals to provide a safer and healthier environment for student athletes. Returning to sport and other activities requires more than just updated cleaning protocols, but also closer attention to athlete’s physical health, pre-participation examinations, and return to activity following COVID-19.

  • Working with the school and districts other medical professionals to assemble a COVID-19 response team to implement a safe return-to-sport plan.
  • Establish an effective communication plan with the athletic director and coaches to identify areas that require adjustments to adhere to local and state guidelines.
  • Eliminate equipment sharing between athletes as much as possible and consider investing in electrostatic disinfectant sprayers and effective cleaners to sanitize equipment and shared spaces after use.
  • Review and make necessary updates to cleaning and sanitization policies and promote proper hygiene to help reduce the spread of germs.
  • Collect updated medical history for all returning athletes and review the Statement on PPE and Athletic Participation for more information on extending pre-participation physical examinations to reduce strain on physicians and clinics.
  • Consider setting up general physical examinations at school that include a check of vital signs, COVID-19 symptom and exposure checking, and other cardiovascular, muscular, or general medical examinations.
  • Identify and prepare for detraining, heat acclimation, conditioning, and condensed or expanded season concerns.
  • Ensure venue-specific EAPs are in place and up to date due to COVID-19 related effects on the cardiovascular, neurologic and other systems.

For more specific details relating to Return to Sport considerations, view NATA’s Considerations for Secondary School Athletic Trainers or your local association’s guidelines and policies.


These are just a few ways schools can be better prepared before students return. For in-depth guides to reopening schools, please visit the CDC, WHO, and other health organizations to find more information to keep your students, staff, and communities safe and healthy.

Visit to shop all emergency preparedness equipment, infection prevention supplies, PPE, and more.


Important Links and Additional Resources

Student Athlete Risk for SCA

PLUS_EV_sch_soccer_2_HRIs your team prepared?

Coaches spend countless hours preparing student athletes for competition, but how about training them to save a life? Studies show between 6,000 - 8,000 teens experience sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) annually;of those affected, only 1 in 10 will survive.2

Student athletes are at heightened risk for SCA due to the additional strain placed on the heart during athletic conditioning and competition. Contributing factors include the influx of adrenaline, dehydration, fever, and changes in electrolytes.3

An SCA victim’s best chance of survival depends on having an automated external defibrillator (AED) close at hand. Nine out of ten victims who receive a shock from an AED within the first minute’s survive.Ensuring that your students and coaches are trained to respond to an SCA emergency could help save a life.

SCA can strike without warning, but sometimes symptoms are presented.

Train your student athletes to know the warning signs:5

  • Fainting

  • Chest pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Irregular heartbeat – racing or fluttering

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

  • Extreme fatigue

Watch this video to learn the story of a high school volleyball player whose life was saved when volunteers took action.

Having AEDs readily accessible throughout your school’s campus will help ensure that you are prepared to respond to an SCA emergency, whether it happens on the field, in the gym, or in the cafeteria.

 To learn more about how the ZOLL AED Plus can help prepare your school for an SCA emergency click here.


1“Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Teenage Athletes: What’s the Risk?”. Promise powered by Nemours Children’s Health System.

2“AHA Release 2015 Heart and Stroke Statistics”. Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation.

“Sports and Sudden Cardiac Arrest(SCA)”. Cardiosmart – American College of Cardiology

4Source: 2017, AHA Mediagenic Survey Results; 2017, AHA with Edelman Intelligence; 2017, AHA with BLR Media; Postgrad Medical Journal, October 2007.

5”Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) in Student-Athletes”. California Interscholastic Federation.