The typical academic calendar is in full swing. All around the country (and the world for that matter) schools of all levels, from preschool to K-12 to colleges and universities must adjust to the new realities created by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, even with all of the resources devoted to keeping everyone safe, happy, and healthy, multi-hazard planning must not fall by the wayside. Let’s talk about some of the most important elements of this protocol for ensuring everyone is protected while on school grounds.
Emergency Response Capabilities
First, let’s talk about emergency preparedness. Protecting your students, staff, and faculty from harm is essential. Response protocols are very common and should be prioritized over preparations for the spread of germs and viruses like COVID-19, even if that is no less important. Social distancing will affect everything from lockdown procedures to fire drills.
Safety Drills and Exercises
Speaking of safety drills and exercises, revising your plans is also necessary. Evacuation drills and fire drills should be adapted to account for physical distancing measures recommended during the COVID-19 era. To make this process easier, consult with your authority having jurisdiction (AHJ) Consultation, collaboration, and authorization are all immensely important parts of managing all of these changes.
Dealing with Overcrowding and Student Distress
Many schools and districts have long struggled with crowding problems and how to help students who are in distress. Civil unrest in response to societal issues is a factor you must address, regardless of if you think it is inappropriate for an educational setting. Community and student concerns should be high on your priority list.
Retooling Existing Communication Plans
Effective communication is also a core element of multi-hazard planning. Redundancy and multiple messaging methods must be deployed to convey what everyone needs to know in a timely fashion, especially as situations arise and unfold.
Assessing and Managing Behavior Problems
Behavioral Threat Assessment and Management, also known as BTAM, is incredibly effective. It is a key part of school violence prevention. Your BTAM team needs to examine intake procedures and possible triggers that will relate to students who show signs of troubles that might be related to their lives outside of the classroom; in the time of virtual instruction and distance learning, this becomes much easier to determine when it comes to multi-hazard planning.
Responding to Crises
Addressing the loss of a community member or student is also something to think about; crisis teams or multi-disciplinary groups need to offer support to affected students, staff, and administrators.
Finally, we should take the time to discuss the COOP process or Continuity of Operations Plans. In-person lessons and hybrid classes affect how students learn, and that must be accounted for. Loss of personnel for pandemic-related reasons such as illness or quarantine can disrupt the normal day-to-day routines that are already much different due to the state of emergency.
Trust the Professionals at ARK Systems
Located in Columbia, Maryland, ARK Systems provides unsurpassed quality and excellence in the security industry, from system design through to installation. We handle all aspects of security with local and remote locations. With over 30 years in the industry, ARK Systems is an experienced security contractor. Trust ARK to handle your most sensitive data storage, surveillance, and security solutions. Contact ARK Systems at 1-800-995-0189 or click here today. Check us out on Facebook and Twitter as well!