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Task 2: Select Preferred Courses of Action
In the previous task, school core planning teams develop possible courses of action for identified hazards and threats. During this task, they will use policies and procedures developed by the district to compare and then select the most feasible courses of action based on a variety of factors, including, but not necessarily limited to, the capacity and the limitations of the school, the district, and community partners.
The district should consider the following when developing policies and procedures:
- The degree to which the district will provide guidance, training, and support to school core planning teams on how to select courses of action
- The capacity and limitations of schools, the district, and community partners
- The type and amount of resources available to schools for accomplishing courses of action
- The Federal, state, and local laws regarding resources that may be required to support individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs, or to effectively communicate with individuals with limited English proficiency in the event of an emergency (For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act [ADA] and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act prohibit discrimination, based on disability, across the spectrum of emergency management services, programs, and activities. Among other things, school EOPs must address the provision of appropriate auxiliary aids and services to ensure effective communication with individuals with disabilities [e.g., interpreters, captioning, and accessible information technology]; ensure individuals with disabilities are not separated from service animals and assistive devices, and can receive disability-related assistance throughout emergencies; and comply with the law’s architectural and other requirements. Examples of resources that may be required to support individuals with disabilities and others with access and functional needs include evacuation chairs, feeding equipment, oxygen tanks and masks, wheelchairs, and communication boards.)
- The degree to which districts will exercise control over the resources available to school core planning teams to accomplish courses of action
- How official partnerships, through the establishment of partnership agreements, may expand available resources to schools and the district
The district’s policies and procedures are meant to guide schools in comparing the costs and benefits of each possible course of action against its goals and objectives. Additionally, they are intended to help schools identify and find resources necessary to accomplish each course of action. As the schools identify the resources they need, the districts should work with them to make certain they can acquire, store, and distribute all of the resources, along with any other materials and equipment needed to carry out courses of action before, during, and after an emergency.
Step 4 may also prompt the district to conduct a comprehensive review of the resources needed by all its schools to determine whether existing resources among its schools are sufficient to prepare for, recover from, and respond to emergencies. If not, the district can consider the following approaches:
- Work with school core planning teams to develop alternative strategies to carry out the courses of action with the resources available
- Take steps to acquire additional resources for the schools within an agreed-upon time frame
- Support school core planning teams in asking community partners for help in identifying strategies and/or opportunities for sharing resources
- Help school core planning teams establish official partnerships necessary to carry out specific courses of action by developing partnership agreements, such as memoranda of understanding (MOUs) or memoranda of agreement (MOAs)
Based on the policies, procedures, and capacity of the district and its partners, each school core planning team should select courses of action that are feasible, considering both the capacity and the limitations of the school, the district, and community partners.