School Board Discusses Sudden Cardiac Arrest in Student Athletes, Excused Absences for Religion, Funding for Student Breakfasts, and National Fentanyl Awareness Day

On May 9, the Loudoun County School Board held their weekly meeting. During this, the Board discussed reworking , the recognition of National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 9, training and educating staff to respond to sudden cardiac arrests among student-athletes, and religion in schools.


Amelia Chen

Throughout the school, fentanyl posters have been put up on the walls. These posters recognize the importance of fentanyl awareness and sharing information about the dangers of fentanyl.

At their May 9 meeting, the School Board discussed the procedure for sudden cardiac arrest situations among student-athletes, excused absences due to religious reasons, increased funding for student breakfasts, and the recognition of National Fentanyl Awareness Day. 

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Among Student Athletes

Also known as policy 8840, the Student-Athlete Sudden Cardiac Arrest policy enforces education and training of staff to respond accordingly if a cardiac arrest occurs among student-athletes. While informing staff about procedures such as using the AED, the policy also informs staff about the risk involved, as well as the odds of survival.

The policy educates staff on the common signs and symptoms of sudden cardiac arrest in men and women. Due to the severity of cardiac arrest, if the signs and symptoms aren’t recognized quickly, especially if the student is still participating in exhilarating activities, the risk of death or lasting brain damage is a strong possibility.

If a student-athlete is recovering from sudden cardiac arrest, a written clearance from their healthcare provider would be necessary to return to playing. 

Recognition of National Fentanyl Awareness Day

May 9 is recognized nationally as Fentanyl Awareness Day. Due to the rising cases of fentanyl overdoses nationwide among high school students, education and awareness of  these cases is necessary. Narcan, an administrative medicine for opioid overdoses, is being utilized among schools in the event an opioid overdose occurs. 

With posters hung around Rock Ridge and advisory lessons to raise awareness, information about fentanyl is being better spread to students. “I had a general knowledge of fentanyl but the posters show more of the in-depth [information] I didn’t really know,” junior Gabriel Truesdell said.

Excused Absence due to Religion

Another subject that was brought up was regarding exemption from school attendance for religious reasons. If a student wishes to be excused because of their religion, they must be of compulsory school age, which is the age of the child who is enrolled in school to the time they turn eighteen. After being granted, that child is granted an exemption for future years. 

The Department of  Student Services proposed that the school board excuse the students that are in compliance with the requirements of the Code of Virginia from attendance to school. 

While this doesn’t severely affect some people, there are plenty of people that are. Junior Abel Felix, who practices Judaism, believes this policy will greatly help religious students. “For the people that practice their religion more, I feel this could be a great benefit for them.” Felix said, “I like that I could be excused because my religion is very important to me and I’m sure it is as well for other people.”

The next school board meeting will take place on May 23, 2023.