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Planning Principles

The following principles are key to developing a comprehensive school emergency operations plan (school EOP) that addresses a range of threats and hazards:

Planning must be supported by leadership.

At the district and school levels, senior-level officials can help the planning process by demonstrating strong support for the planning team.

Planning uses assessment to customize plans to the building level.

Effective planning is built around comprehensive, ongoing assessment of the school community. Information gathered through assessment is used to customize plans to the building level, taking into consideration the school’s unique circumstances and resources.

Planning considers all threats and hazards.

The planning process must take into account a wide range of possible threats and hazards that may impact the school. Comprehensive school emergency management planning considers all threats and hazards throughout the planning process, addressing safety needs before, during, and after an incident.

Planning provides for the access and functional needs of the whole school community.

The “whole school community” includes children, individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, those from religiously, racially, and ethnically diverse backgrounds, and people with limited English proficiency.

Planning considers all settings and all times.

School EOPs must account for incidents that may occur during and outside the school day as well as on and off campus (e.g., sporting events, field trips).

Creating and revising a model emergency operations plan is done by following a collaborative process.

The recommended process, plan format, and content guidance provided here are flexible enough for use by all school emergency planning teams. If a planning team also uses templates, it must first evaluate their usefulness to ensure the tools do not undermine the collaborative initiative and collectively shared plan. There are some jurisdictions that provide templates to schools, and these will reflect state and local mandates, as applicable.

Related Resources

Access and Functional Needs All Settings and Times Collaboration