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Nearly 1,000 people every day suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when the heart stops beating. It leads to loss of circulation and loss of consciousness with no blood flow to the brain and other vital organs.  

Several studies have shown the best chance of survival is within the first four minutes of occurrence. That’s why Mansfield ISD Health Services has partnered with Project ADAM  (Automated Defibrillators in Adam's Memory) to help save lives.

Project ADAM is a comprehensive emergency response plan for schools. It was named after a 17-year-old boy from Wisconsin who died from sudden cardiac arrest on the basketball court.

“We have medical response teams on all campuses who are trained with CPR and using an AED (automated external defibrillator) to respond to a cardiac emergency,” said health coordinator Margaret Couldron. “Mansfield ISD is a strong believer in AEDs because we’ve had two instance on our campuses in which we needed to use them. They are truly life saving.”

MISD is now a Project ADAM Heart Safe District. That means all of its schools and facilities have an established emergency plan and response team in place in case of a sudden cardiac arrest situation. 

For each school to become certified, a designated nurse had to put together a response team and place signage around the campus so that the location of the AED is clear.

The nurses also interacted with the local fire department and ambulance service and will engage in emergency drills twice a year. 

“Being a part of Project ADAM is just another way of keeping our kids safe here in Mansfield ISD,” said Couldron.

Project ADAM is a national, non-profit organization established in 1999 with the goal of saving lives through advocacy, education, preparedness and collaboration to prevent sudden cardiac death. Learn more about the initiative here.

The University Interscholastic League (UIL) allowed summer strength and conditioning to begin this week with the proper health protocols in place.

Schools across Texas are not required to participate, but those that do must adhere to the safety precautions put in place.

“We’re requiring kids to social distance, which is one of the rules that the UIL put out,” said Philip O’Neal, MISD athletics director. “We’re checking temperature. Students have to answer questions regarding their health each and every day.”

The steps being taken are very thorough, including the cleaning of facilities before each workout, no sharing of items and frequent hand-washing breaks.

Summit High School coach Channon Hall said it was an adjustment for his student-athletes.

“The students have been away from each other so long, so of course, they want to gravitate toward each other,” the head football coach explained. “They want to shake hands and cut up and all that good stuff.”

One thing Hall said he is reiterating to his team is to understand the process.

“If you want to play football, if you want to play you’re sport, we’re going to have to get this right,” he said. “Our kids are resilient. They really understand what we’re trying to do and the importance of social distancing, so at this point, they’re going, ‘Whatever we need to do to get back on the field or on the court or wherever, we’ll do it.’”

O’Neal said that the safety protocols being done now may be a precursor for athletics opening back up in the fall. It’s something he is enthusiastic about because he knows the importance of students being involved in school.

“Extracurriculars are so important, whether its athletics, fine arts or anything else,” said O’Neal. “That’s an important component of kids growing up and having the opportunity to learn those values that they learn from being a part of that.”

UIL said it will continue to work with state officials and monitor CDC and other federal guidance to determine any potential modifications to summer activities. View the latest information about requirements here.

While school buildings were closed and distance learning was concluding, one Mansfield ISD librarian decided to take on a major initiative to ensure that students have the opportunity to read interactively.

Read With Me! Mansfield ISD went from a thought to a full-on event in just 22 days. It was held Tuesday, May 26 for all elementary school students.

“It was a time for student to be passionate about reading and for teachers and librarians and community members to share their love of reading with students through an interactive, engaging website,” said Emilie Buske-Ferman, librarian at the Innovative Learning Academy at Elizabeth Smith.

She helped create the website that allowed visitors to listen and read along with more than 67 guest readers.

The guest readers included several staff members, school board members, Superintendent Dr. Kimberley Cantu and other community leaders.

The goal was to read for a total of 20,000 minutes. That goal was exceeded after the participating students logged more than 22,000 minutes read.

“Watching the students listen to these stores, interact, engaged when we’ve been craving that for the last three months was just heartwarming,” she said. ”To hear them excited about books made it a very very special day.”

Buske-Ferman said she hopes the event will help encourage the students to continue reading in the summer.

To help keep the learning going during the summer, Mansfield ISD is providing resources for learning enrichment for students and parents. More information about the resources is available here.

The Mansfield ISD Police Department has been in existence for more than 26 years, providing safety and security for the students, faculty, staff and parents of the community.

Officers and dispatchers work around the clock all year round, and that has been no different since the COVID-19 Shutdown.

However, since buildings are closed to the public, Police Chief Greg Minter said the department’s focus had to be adjusted.

“This is kind of an unprecedented time, so we kind of shifted what our duties were,” he said. “Along with our 24/7 patrol and dispatch, we assisted the schools with feeding programs, parades, deliveries, pick-up situations and things like that.”

The MISD Police Department is a fully-authorized police agency by the State of Texas. The department has more than 50 full-time sworn officers, 16 civilian personnel and 51 school crossing guards.

Chief Minter noted that what makes his officers special is the connection they have with students. 

“Most of our officers who are assigned to campuses know just about every kid, and they know them by name,” he said. “They form relationships. They bond with the students, so that’s a passion that we have. We’re thinking of the students as much as the teachers, as much as the staff, and we can’t wait for things to get back to normal.”

Following the executive order given by Gov. Greg Abbott on April 17, schools across the state were told to remain closed for the rest of the 2019-20 school year to prevent the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

Distance learning will continue. For the latest information, visit the MISD comprehensive COVID-19 web page.

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