August 22, 2019
Now, a few weeks into August, the start of the new school year fast approaches. In the remaining weeks of summer, there is still time to complete summer security tasks to prepare for a safe start.
Summertime in schools is a time for cleaning, maintenance, and construction that cannot be accomplished during the school year. This maintenance and cleaning will provide a welcoming environment for students and staff. While construction projects will enhance the learning environment, these activities can sometimes impact security measures and technology. For this reason, it is important to conduct a building assessment to ensure that all systems related to security are operational and functioning properly before the start of school. These systems include:
• Camera systems and views
• Public address/intercom and notification systems
• Door locks/access control systems
• Alarm systems
• Emergency notification systems
• Classroom emergency guides/Evacuation maps
• Anonymous reporting applications
Checking these and other security-related measures and technology before the start of the school year will provide peace of mind that these systems are operational and ready for a safe start.
Policies and Procedures
Between school years, there are often changes in staffing, and policies and procedures that may impact security operations for the coming year. These changes should be reflected in emergency plans. Making sure these plans are up-to-date is best accomplished before the start of the year so staff can become familiar with any changes before students arrive for the first day.
Summer is also a great time to pursue security-related training or attend conferences. Once the school year begins, time for professional development may be difficult to accommodate. Take advantage of opportunities to attend training seminars or conferences in the summer to bring back this valuable information to share with staff and students.
Summer also provides an opportunity to prepare training sessions or find training providers for mandatory school safety training for staff. Staff training is a vital component of a comprehensive security strategy that cannot be overlooked. All employees must be familiar with roles, responsibilities, and procedures in an emergency. This can only be accomplished through thorough review and training.
When it comes to training, students should not be overlooked. Whether students are familiarized with emergency responses during a whole school assembly or by classroom training conducted by school staff, students must also understand basic responses and expectations.
Other Summer Tasks to Consider
So, as we enjoy the remaining days of summer vacation, consider these and other “punch list” items to make sure that your school begins another year as prepared for safety as possible. Here are just a few additional items to consider:
• Update Emergency Go kits
• Meet with and schedule security staff/SRO’s
• Secure unassigned lockers
• Draft security welcome letter to parents
• Assign staff/student parking tags
• Plan drill schedule for the year
• Consider special events that will require security planning
Remember… school security doesn’t take the summer off. A little preparation goes a long way to a safe start to the school year.