Several states and communities have recently been victimized by tornadoes and other severe weather. Many of these types of storms and other weather events occur after normal school dismissal time. How well prepared are your schools to manage an event of this nature when regular school operations are not in session?
In our assessments we often find schools preparing for events which occur during the “normal” school day. While schools understandably center their planning on normal school hours, few schools today are occupied only during the normal hours alone. Most schools, especially secondary schools and particularly high schools, are busy before and after normal hours with many non-academic activities, as well.
A good question to ask in your school and district planning is whether someone in your building is trained and prepared to take the necessary steps to protect all occupants at all times in which it is open. This “someone” often is a custodian or someone in a similar support staff role. And in some cases, these staff may even be contracted service providers who are not school district employees.
If a review of your plans shows gaps in before and after school preparedness, now is the time to train appropriate staff how to respond to an emergency during these times.
As famous basketball coach John Wooden once said: “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
With severe weather, there may never be an opportunity to do it over.