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What's New from Your ACA: Safety Education & Instruction

Instructor Certification, Maintenance, First Aid & CPR Considerations With COVID-19

Wednesday, March 18, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kelsey Bracewell
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ACA Instructors, Members, & Friends,


The global health crisis created by COVID-19 continues to create a changing and uncertain situation. The only certainty now is that the situation has negatively impacted many people and many organizations all across the world and will continue to do so for some time. The ACA will respond to these impacts with relevant updates as warranted. The health and safety of our members and the overall paddling community remains our first priority.


Up-to-date guidance on how to mitigate risk associated with COVID-19 is provided by medical organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), local health departments, or if you live outside the U.S., your country's equivalent organizations. The ACA strongly encourages our members to follow the recommendations provided by these public health experts. Current CDC recommendations can be found at:


Following the recommendations from these medical professionals will impact ACA instructors. To reduce the impact on instructors' upcoming courses and their certification maintenance while also following public health recommendations, the ACA is providing the following guidance:

  1. The ACA encourages our members to consider canceling or postponing events for at least eight weeks and to recognize that schedule changes may be required beyond that time frame. Instructional courses should be canceled or rescheduled through the Course Management System (CMS). A description of how to cancel or reschedule is featured on the "What's New" portion of the ACA website, and linked here. Any insurance or registration fees you previously paid can be applied to future events.
  2. Instructors, Instructor Trainers, or Instructor Trainer Educators whose certifications are set to expire on 12/31/2020 who cannot complete their ACA certification renewal requirements due to the current COVID-19 crisis are encouraged to request a one-year administrative extension. For those who have certification expiration dates in later years, please wait until the year of expiration to request an extension, should you require one.
  3. Per the SEIC Policy Manual, all Instructor certifications require current CPR and First Aid certification in order to remain valid. Several CPR and First Aid course providers have announced extensions for their certifications (please contact your specific provider for details about potential CPR and First Aid extensions). The ACA will provide a grace period until July 1, 2020 for any instructor who is unable to renew an expired CPR and First Aid certification. During this grace period, Instructors, Trainers, and Educators' ACA certifications will remain valid should their membership remain current.
  4. Most ACA National Office staff are now working remotely in order to limit the exposure and spread of COVID-19 in our communities. We will strive to always have at least one person physically in the office but email communications will be far more effective than phone calls. Use of the CMS for course scheduling changes will alleviate delays in the updating and reissuing of insurance certificates and postings to the ACA calendar. Please make a sincere attempt to submit needed course schedule changes within the CMS before calling or emailing the ACA staff. We greatly appreciate your assistance in this effort as well as your patience as we assist many members, instructors, and event organizers with challenging situations.

The ACA will continue to monitor developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and provide relevant updates as necessary. If you have any questions or require more assistance, please contact an ACA staff member. Thank you for your patience and dedication to the ACA during this time.



ACA National Office Staff

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Founded in 1880, The American Canoe Association (ACA) is a national nonprofit organization serving the broader paddling public by providing education related to all aspects of paddling, stewardship support to help protect paddling environments, and sanctioning of programs and events to promote paddlesport competition, exploration, and recreation.

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