Does your school have a continuity of operations plan in place?

Zurich Insurance: Schools also need a continuity of operations plan

Natural disasters can occur at any given time, and the odds that dangerous weather conditions will occur during school hours are  too high to be ignored. Even though school districts collect emergency contact information from parents and guardians, is that enough to protect children from unexpected dangers?

Impending weather has the potential to cause havoc across many communities, so it is essential that local officials create a continuity of operations plan for each school so teachers know where to take their students before disaster hits.

Earlier this year, schools in Moore, Oklahoma were heavily damaged by extreme weather. Teachers did what they could to protect the children, but the tornado, rated a five on the Enhanced Fujita scale, claimed 24 lives, including seven children. Though these issues are rare, school officials need to prepare for any given situation.

A study from Zurich Insurance found that education centers have created protocols for a crisis, but 4 in 10 schools have not practiced their tabletop exercises. When considering business continuity, many schools do not have measures to roll out long-term plans like "how to communicate with parents, staff and the media," the Guardian reported.

For example, parents and students know how to find out if their school is closed after a snowstorm. They look for their education center online or on TV, if it is listed stay home—if not, get on the bus. This process is habitual because it is practiced on a consistent basis. Schools have the potential to quickly evacuate as well—it simply takes practice over time.

Business continuity consultants can help schools have "a much quicker response to interruption."