More and more schools around the country are beginning to resume in-person instruction after having only virtual instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a welcome development because the negative impact of the “lost” school year will likely be felt, and not be fully understood by students and educators, for years to come. To get to the point of re-opening, much of the focus and effort of administrators and teachers have understandably been centered around health and safety issues and making sure the appropriate protocols and resources are in place.
What concerns us at SEC is the intense focus on this one threat, COVID-19, which may result in an insufficient focus on more traditional threats schools face. These threats that were present prior to the pandemic will remain as schools open post-pandemic. Sadly, but not unexpectedly, we have already seen instances of violent events occurring in schools that have recently re-opened.
While we know that working to protect students, staff, and visitors from the spread of COVID-19 will be and should be, the priority for school administrators throughout the country, we also believe that it is important to ensure they (1) revisit and (2) maintain the appropriate prevention and response strategies for the myriad of other threats that can be experienced in educational environments.
To assist with this, over the next few weeks, SEC will be providing practical guidance, suggestions, and reminders related to those strategies. Our focus will be on the same exact areas we examine when we conduct our in-person school site assessments:
Emergency and Operating Policies and Procedures
Physical and Technical Design Features
Emergency Equipment and Training
For each of the elements within these three areas, we will have you ask yourself three simple questions in relation to reopening:
What is the Same?
What is Different?
What Needs to be Adjusted?
Be on the lookout for more detailed information about these strategies. If you have any questions or if you would like to learn more, please reach out for a free consultation.