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. 2016 Sep 16;65(36):949-53.
doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm6536a2.

School District Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Plans - United States, 2012

Free article

School District Crisis Preparedness, Response, and Recovery Plans - United States, 2012

Brenda Silverman et al. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. .
Free article

Abstract

The unique characteristics of children dictate the need for school-based all-hazards response plans during natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases, and terrorism (1-3). Schools are a critical community institution serving a vulnerable population that must be accounted for in public health preparedness plans; prepared schools are adopting policies and plans for crisis preparedness, response, and recovery (2-4). The importance of having such plans in place is underscored by the development of a new Healthy People 2020 objective (PREP-5) to "increase the percentage of school districts that require schools to include specific topics in their crisis preparedness, response, and recovery plans" (5). Because decisions about such plans are usually made at the school district level, it is important to examine district-level policies and practices. Although previous reports have provided national estimates of the percentage of districts with policies and practices in place (6), these estimates have not been analyzed by U.S. Census region* and urbanicity.(†) Using data from the 2012 School Health Policies and Practices Study (SHPPS), this report examines policies and practices related to school district preparedness, response, and recovery. In general, districts in the Midwest were less likely to require schools to include specific topics in their crisis preparedness plans than districts in the Northeast and South. Urban districts tended to be more likely than nonurban districts to require specific topics in school preparedness plans. Southern districts tended to be more likely than districts in other regions to engage with partners when developing plans. No differences in district collaboration (with the exception of local fire department engagement) were observed by level of urbanicity. School-based preparedness planning needs to be coordinated with interdisciplinary community partners to achieve Healthy People 2020 PREP-5 objectives for this vulnerable population.

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