We talk a lot about risks, threats, and preparedness at schools on the Invictus blog. If you’ve been around this blog for any length of time, you know that we think having an Emergency Operations Plan is a critical part of keeping faculty and students safe at school.
Today I’d like to talk about what happens if there is an emergency after school hours are over but when children and staff are still on campus. Lots of things go on after classes are dismissed for the day – sports teams practice, visitors come on campus to attend sporting events, school clubs meet, faculty meetings take place, teachers prep and plan, and students use the playground equipment. Your Emergency Operations plan should take these types of activities into account.
Sporting events are a particular concern that probably require a specific Emergency Playbook within your Emergency Operations Plan. Sporting events are unique because you have numerous visitors on campus to watch the event and an away team on campus to participate in the event; money may change hands at the concession stand; vehicular traffic is increased on campus; staff on campus (e.g., coaches, guards) may be different than the school-day staff; and people may inadvertently wander into school buildings in search of a restroom. Simply put, sporting events pose challenges that are different from the challenges of a regular school day and therefore need to be planned for separately in your emergency planning.
Relaxing your security program once the dismissal bell has rung is poor policy. Teachers deserve to be kept safe even if there are no children left on campus. Athletes and club members and the faculty, staff, and coaches that work with these children deserve to be kept safe after the dismissal bell. Don’t forget to include after hours activities in your emergency planning, please!