Challenges Schools Face in Emergency Preparedness and Management

There are a number of challenges that school districts are facing in regard to emergency preparedness and management, but one of the biggest is a lack of resources – whether physical, personnel, or financial. Tactical challenges also present themselves to schools. What needs to happen in the event of an emergency? Schools want to be in the know. Schools want data. They want to know who is in the school building and where they are precisely. Who is in the bathroom? Who is on the playground? How do we equip schools with the information they need to protect everyone?

Some emergencies are unavoidable, but schools really do want to focus on prevention. As mandates are handed down, schools are forced to form threat assessment teams and prepare themselves to stop incidents from happening, which requires more time and resources that districts may or may not have. With an increase of 700% of threats across the board at most schools, having the necessary tools in place is overwhelming.

What Are Districts Missing?

Because academic schedules only allow so much time for drills and preparation, school administrators must spend more time focusing on those emergencies that will most likely impact their schools. They need to also spend more time identifying stakeholders who might be impacted and means of getting parents to play a more active role in the preparation.

Most schools are overlooking the importance of prioritizing the types of emergencies they are most likely to experience and the ones that would be most disruptive, and then running suitable drills. While an active shooter is the most-often discussed danger, there are more common emergencies that happen to schools that require further preparation.

What Role Can Technology Play in Emergency Preparedness and Management?

Technology is playing a huge role in how schools can digitize their plans, to better prepare for and respond to emergencies. For example, when you think just of the critical responsibility placed on the school to reunify parents with students after an event, technology makes the biggest difference. Reunification of students with parents is a complex and painstaking operation, but technology has proven to be a tool that saves time, reduces risk, and puts students back in their parents’ arms more quickly.

Furthermore, as part of your emergency response plan, you need a shared operating picture. Everyone must have access to the same data and be able to see the same things. Data tends to be siloed – in schools, fire departments, and police departments. Getting everyone on the same page is essential for a more effective response. Technology makes that happen, taking what is currently housed in those bulky 3-ring binders that everyone’s response plan is in and making it digital and accessible to everyone. Let’s face it: Everyone is going to grab their phone in an emergency; no one is going to think about grabbing the 30-pound binder off the shelf.

Technology is still new to some schools. They may not have IT departments or even an IT person on site. They may worry about IT infrastructure implementation and management, so when they are looking for appropriate technologies, they need them not only to save money and time, but also to be manageable. By prioritizing what is most likely to impact their schools, they can choose solutions that slowly introduce technology and address emergency management with minimal burden.

That’s where GG4L comes in. School Passport is an enterprise-grade Single Sign-On (SSO) and Identity Management Platform (IDM) delivered for free to member schools as an add-on to GG4L® Connect. School Passport helps school districts securely and cost-effectively distribute third-party EdTech applications and content to students and staff using SSO, IDM, and Identity Federation services.