Schools are opening this year under very different circumstances than previous ones. Administrators and government officials are faced with a dizzying array of possible threats. Yet, despite this, it is their responsibility to provide a safe and enriching educations experience for all enrolled children. Understanding the threats today’s students face makes them easier to manage.
1. Active Shooter Situations
The past decade has seen a growing number of active shooter incidents at schools and other public buildings. Not all school shootings make headlines, and there are many smaller incidents that get overlooked on national news. The reality is that no schools, no matter what neighborhood they are located, are exempt from the threat of gun violence. As a result, threat response solutions have been developed to increase safety and make alerting authorities easier.
2. Spread of Pathogens
The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the spread of pathogens to the forefront, but it is only the latest in a string of illnesses that threaten schools. Measles, which was once considered largely eradicated in the United States, made a resurgence in recent years, forcing temporary closures for some districts or buildings. Severe flu seasons have also shut down several schools and districts in the past year or so. Now, with the addition of SARS-CoV-2 to the scene, schools across the country are rushing to implement more stringent health policies.
3. Cyber Security Threats
As part of those policies, the trend toward incorporating technology into education has gotten a huge boost. Many administrations have opted to move classes either partially or entirely online. This creates serious cybersecurity threats for students and hosting entities.
There was a time when the biggest concern students faced on returning to school was what teachers they would have. Unfortunately, those days appear to be a thing of the past. Today’s schools must be prepared to protect students against threats including outbreaks of illness, active shooter or hostage situations and internet breaches.