As states begin the tedious process of safely restarting their economies this month, schools, colleges, and universities are determining the best plan to reopen for students. EMT training is among the more challenging programs to deliver using distance learning. EMT students combine cognitive material with practical skills to identify and treat injuries and illnesses. Practical skills require hands-on training and specialized equipment which are difficult to master in a virtual classroom.
Code One’s winter EMT program had to be especially adaptive during the COVID-19 pandemic. As governments implemented social distancing and shelter-in-place directives in mid-March, Code One EMT students were only two weeks away from completing their training. Lessons were immediately migrated to an online distance learning platform with the remaining skill assessments conducted by video conference. Clinical ride time aboard ambulances was suspended by state EMS officials for safety concerns so students worked with simulated patients to meet modified requirements. Final exams were conducted online and graduates were cleared to complete their certification testing with the National Registry of EMTs (NREMT).
A continuing need for new EMTs and paramedics to join the workforce combined with a growing unemployed population transitioning to new careers guided Code One’s decision to continue its EMT training programs through the pandemic and into the summer.
Code One quickly adapted its EMT program to ensure the health and safety of students and instructors while delivering high-quality training that exceeds NREMT standards. Code One’s accelerated EMT programs meet for five weeks each with three programs being offered starting May 11, June 15, and July 20 respectively. The traditional 13 week EMT programs commence July 6 with daytime and evening opportunities.
Didactic lectures for these programs will be delivered online in Code One’s virtual classrooms. All students will be assigned a lab group with about 5-6 students which will meet regularly in person to do skills practice with an instructor. Lab sessions will follow strict infection control procedures including the use of masks and gloves, hand washing, decontamination of equipment, and being outdoors whenever possible. Lab sessions will be staggered to avoid multiple groups congregating at our buildings at the same time.
State EMS officials have not yet reinstated clinical rotations but have offered an alternative assignment of patient simulations. Code One believes clinical to be an important component of the learning process so participants who complete the EMT program without ride time will be invited to attend a rotation once the state authorizes clinical to resume.
Code One’s team of instructors are dedicated to the success of our students. While the pandemic is an unprecedented situation, we are continually learning, adapting our programs, and using tools from our past experiences to guide our students through this process and prepare them for a career in helping others. We are confident in our ability to effectively deliver this program safely as the nation heals from COVID-19.