Coronavirus: Districts should review school safety plans

3/2/2020

In light of current information about the coronavirus, the Department of Education encourages school staff and administrators to use this opportunity to review their school safety plans. Each school building in Ohio is required to submit a safety plan that outlines procedures for emergency situations. As a best practice, safety plans should also incorporate hazards such as widespread flu and pandemic disease outbreaks.
 
In particular, districts and schools should carefully review the “Response” section (section V), “Hazards/Threats” subsection (subsection C), “Medical: Pandemic” component of each building plan. Review of the “Recovery” section (section VI) may also be helpful, especially the “Continuity of Operations Plan” component*. As part of the emergency management plan, schools should have established procedures for determining when to close a school; how to communicate information to parents, students, staff and the community about the closing; and procedures for decontaminating facilities if necessary.  
 
Schools and districts should make all decisions in the best interest of the health and safety of students and of the community.
 
Schools and districts may want to:

  • Refresh their relationship with their local health department and county emergency management agency and ensure their awareness of local health emergency procedures in their communities.
  • Convene Planning Team/Safety Committees to ensure awareness of emergency procedures.
  • Modify emergency management plans as may be necessary in light of a review. 
  • Ensure contact information for staff and student families is up to date.
  • Ensure that administrator contact information is current in OH/ID at the Ohio Department of Education.
Find more information about school safety plans on the Ohio School Safety Center’s website at: https://saferschools.ohio.gov/content/school_safety_plans

*Section designations refer to the “Sample Safety Plan” template provided by the Ohio Department of Public Safety.