Classroom Medical Emergency Guidelines

Professor speaks to his class in language lab, CAS
Professor Scott Hartley, wearing protective glasses, talks with students in the lab, CAS

Call | Dismiss | Support | Communicate

In the unlikely event that a student in your course experiences an unexpected emergency medical situation, you are advised to do the following:

1. Call 911.

If you are unsure, be safe and call 911. Be prepared to provide essential details to the operator: name and room number of the building and any related idiosyncratic detail; the nature of the emergency (e.g.; seizing; unresponsive; complaining of chest pains).

2. Dismiss the class, even if you are giving an exam.

The incident will disrupt your class time whether you dismiss your students or not. By dismissing them, you will provide first responders with easier access to the student in need. In addition, the student of concern will be provided with more privacy during a challenging and vulnerable personal situation. Finally, dismissing the class immediately may spare other students in the class emotional discomfort.

While conducting an exam, it would be appropriate to ask your students to stop or log out of their work and leave all important testing materials behind. 

3. Stay with the student in need until help arrives, allow helpful students to remain.

Many of our students are trained in CPR and/or other medical interventions. Students who are not trained are unlikely to remain at the scene to offer assistance unless they are friends of the student, in which case their moral support might be beneficial. Each person ultimately will remain responsible for their own actions in this situation, but if a student offers to intervene directly, it would be appropriate to inform the 911 operator (e.g., "Student at the scene is now going to administer CPR.")

4. After the incident, alert the Office of the Dean of Students and your chair.

Following up with the Office of the Dean of Students allows the University to reach out to the student, check their status, and ensure they get connected to the appropriate and necessary resources. You can use the Student Concern Reporting System to pass along your concern.

Note: Providing the student’s name and other related details to select university officials who need to know will not violate the student’s privacy rights, either HIPPA or FERPA.

5. Follow up with your class within 24 hours, and consider reaching out to the student of concern.

Within 24 hours of the incident, send an email to the entire class that is informative but concise. The email should explain what impact, if any, the incident will have on them as students (e.g., "We will have the quiz next period, instead," or "We will simply not cover that reading, and you will not be tested on it"). It also may indicate what they need to do to prepare for the next class period. The email should avoid divulging medical or other personal details of the incident (e.g., student’s name; condition; prognosis). The Office of the Dean of Students and Student Health Services will be responsible for sharing necessary health information with the students. Also, you might consider sending a separate follow-up email to the student of concern offering your support and directing them to the Office of the Dean of Students for resources.