The following principles are key to developing a comprehensive school emergency operations plan (school EOP) that addresses a range of threats and hazards:
At the district and school levels, senior-level officials can help the planning process by demonstrating strong support for the planning team.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.