At Skills, like so many other workplaces across New Zealand, we are closely monitoring the coronavirus situation and its impact on learners, employers, tutors, and our staff.

The spread of the virus and its effect is constantly evolving.

Many first aid providers have been asking us about the impact of COVID-19 on CPR assessment and refresher courses.

We know that the first aid training sector is trying to respond to the advice of TEC regarding training provision; NZQA about alternative delivery arrangements; and the pandemic response requirements from the Government and Ministry of Health.

Skills supports providers varying their practices appropriately as the advice changes. Currently, we see two areas that would be useful for us to comment on.

1. CPR Demonstrations

a) Normal good practice hygiene practices during and post courses should continue. These strategies are necessary to protect against all infections, not just COVID-19.

b) For CPR demonstrations, where a learner/tutor/teaching organisation is not happy to demonstrate breaths into the manikin, even with disposable masks and good hygiene practices, Skills will accept alternative means of assessing competence of rescue breaths, and the relevant unit standard may still be awarded.

c) Demonstrating compressions is still a requirement if a learner is unwilling or unable to demonstrate compressions a letter of attendance may be provided, but the relevant unit standard cannot be awarded.

2. Refresher period
Current practice is that First Aid Certificates last for two years with a grace period of 3 months. We consider that this grace period may need to be extended during the period of pandemic management, in order to mitigate the effect of people being unable to attend refresher training because of pandemic management plans.

We will re-visit all guidance as advice evolves. Government and Ministry of Health directives clearly override guidance regarding interpretation of unit standard requirements, so stay up-to-date and respond accordingly.