It’s that time again, many of you are going back to school and a proper safety and security checklist will help you for the coming year. Schools hire new Administrative staff and teachers, teachers and students move to new classrooms, school buildings undergo construction. Before the new school year begins, teachers, administrators and parents should review old emergency plans and make updates accordingly. Share the below lists with the people in your community to make this upcoming school year one of the safest and most secure year yet!
- Ensure emergency protocols are in place and posted in each classroom.
- Go over basic emergency protocols with teachers and staff (i.e.: Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Lockout and Lockdown.) Answer questions when possible.
- Review key plan elements such as alert capability, relocation sites, and transportation elements to ensure they are in place.
- Develop a drill-schedule for early and mid-year that practices the main protocols.
- If buses are used, schedule times for evacuation practice. Ensure evacuation is practiced from the buses at least 2 times per year.
- Make contact with local emergency services to request they attend a drill that would elicit their response. (Fire for Evacuation and Police for Lockdown.)
- Practice basic computer security hygiene. Cyber hygiene includes practices like password or thumbprint protecting your device, encrypting your device, using antivirus software, installing the latest software updates, wiping a device before selling or donating, removing unnecessary software, enabling and configuring a firewall, and routinely backing up your data.
- Practice safe computing. Do not open unsolicited attachments or follow unsolicited links in email messages, use caution when downloading files, and browse wisely by avoiding suspicious websites. Carefully weigh the pros and cons of sharing your personal info in exchange for free products and services.
- Review basic emergency procedures to include Evacuation, Shelter in Place, Lockout and Lockdown. Ensure you are aware of the role you must play in each situation. Ask for clarification when plans are ambiguous.
- Check emergency supplies and ensure they are available and operating properly.
- Ensure you have access to any mass alert capability such as PA system or any emergency response APPs used.
- Plan a time, as early in the year as possible, to review basic emergency responses with children. Be sure to do this in an age appropriate manner.
- Be aware of phish emails. Phish emails are emails sent from criminals looking to infect your computer or steal your information. Do not open suspicious links in email, tweets, posts, online ads, messages or attachments. Double-check embedded email links by hovering over the link to see its true destination.
- When age appropriate, ensure children know parents contact information to include phone numbers, home address etc.
- Consider a backpack emergency card with relevant phone numbers, medical allergies, and other information that could be used to help in an emergency.
- Ask the school about their plan to deal with emergencies and make sure they have a reunification plan in place.
- Update all emergency contacts. Consider authorizing a non-parent to pick up your child(ren) in case of emergency, and you are unable to be there.
- Have an age appropriate conversation with the child about maintaining safety and about age appropriate situational awareness.
- Avoid oversharing on social media. Even a check-in at your favorite coffee shop can reveal more than intended. Personal information shared on social sites can be the final puzzle piece hackers need to unlock identity theft.
- Be wary of used devices. Wipe any previously owned device before using with professional software, or reset the device back to factory defaults.
- Try not use public Wi-Fi. Whether you’re studying in a coffee shop or somewhere else be careful when connecting to public Wi-Fi with a school provided computer.