Recovery - Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools ...

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Recovery - Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools ...

RecoveryFiscal Year 2010 Initial Grantee MeetingDecember 8 – 9, 2010, Santa Monica, CaliforniaArthur CumminsDirector Safe and Healthy Schools,Orange County Department of Education(CA)Denise RiemerHomeless and At-Risk Social Worker,Mobile (AL) Public SchoolsU.S. Department of Education, Office of Safe and Drug-Free SchoolsPotomac Center Plaza, 550 12 th Street, S.W., 10 th Floor / Washington, DC 20202


Overview of Recovery Session• Define• Introduce four key components of Recovery• Discuss how to prepare for each component ofRecovery• Explore issues related to traumatic stress• Discuss Recovery scenario2


Phases of Emergency ManagementPrevention-Mitigation PreparednessRecoveryResponse3


What is the Recovery Phase?• The Recovery phase is designed to:• assist students and staff, as needed,with healing and coping, and• restore educational operations inschools.• When does the Recovery phase begin?• When does it end?5


Goal of the Recovery PhaseRestore a safe and healthy learningenvironment.6


Recovery: Four Key Components• Physical/structural recovery• Business recovery• Restoration of academic learning• Psychological/emotional recovery7


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?8• Increase in student absenteeism due tofear:• “This heightened sense of fear hascaused an alarming increase in schoolviolence (notably fights in the hallways)and a precipitous drop in schoolattendance rates. Before the incident,the school averaged 60 absences (outof 1,500 students). Since the incident,the absence rate has soared to aconsistent rate of 80-100 absences perday.” (student homicide)


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?• Increase in student absenteeism due topsychosomatic issues:• “Students became more aware of theirown symptoms and as a result,internalizing behaviors (i.e., anxiety,depression, and somatic complaints)increased, causing a heightened needfor emotional support.” (suicide cluster)9


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?10• Increase in student violent behavior anddisciplinary problems:• After the incident, firearms incidentsincreased 58%, mainly due to fear andstudents feeling a need to protectthemselves.” (school shooting)• “The Principal reported that in previousschool years there were about 10discipline referrals per month. Since theincident, the average has increased toabout 15 discipline referrals per month. ”(school shooting)


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?11• Decrease in academic performance:• “Teachers have noted that manystudents are having a difficult timefocusing on their work in class and outof class, their attention span is affected,some students have taken an ‘I don’tcare’ attitude about school work and theupcoming state tests. Other studentsare acting out in ways they never didbefore. Teachers are finding it muchharder to motivate their students. ”(suicide cluster)


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?• Increased student mental health needs:• “The emotional impact was strongest foreye-witnesses and exacerbated bybeing questioned at the police stationand told that they may be asked totestify in court. For many students, thislatest event overlays past trauma.Symptoms of post-traumatic stresssyndrome were observed in somestudents.” (fatal stabbing at school)12


How Do Traumatic Events ImpactTeaching and Learning?• Family concerns about school safety:• “The middle school enrollment was only66% of last year’s. The primary reasongiven by parents for transferring theirstudents to other districts was fear fortheir safety and frustration at what wasseen as a slow response to problemsresulting from the incident.” (schoolshooting at the high school)13


What is Physical/StructuralRecovery?14Purpose: Restore educational operationsand facilitiesKey steps:• Ensure safety at educational sites• Assess critical infrastructure andsupport services—What is necessary?• Damage Assessment ResponseTeams (DART)• Determine availability of equipmentand supplies• Debrief and incorporate lessonslearned around physical assets andvulnerabilities into emergencymanagement planning


How Can Schools Prepare for PhysicalRecovery Efforts in Advance?• Steps taken in previous phases maylessen the need for physical Recovery insome areas—examples?• Identify potential disaster funding sources andtheir requirements• Establish strategies/policies for receivingdonations• Consider the structures and departments thatwill be involved in physical recovery• Coordinate with relevant school districtdepartments to discuss recovery plans15


What is Business/Fiscal Recovery?Purpose: To restore critical businessfunctions within the school/district assoon as possibleA Key component in the Recoveryphase, the development of Continuityof Operations Plans (COOP) ensuresthat the capability exists to continueessential functions across a wide rangeof hazards.16


COOP Goals• Allow for its implementation anytime, with orwithout warning, during duty and non-dutyhours;• Provide full operational capability for essentialfunctions no later than 12 hours afteractivation; and• Sustain essential functions for up to 30 days.17


Key Steps to Take DuringBusiness Recovery• Restore district administrative functions• Ensure staff are supported• Set-up automatic payment system• Institute a system to register out of districtstudents, and to register students in newschoolsNOTE: The level of COOPactivation will be determined by thescope and breadth of theemergency.18


How Can Schools Prepare for BusinessRecovery Efforts in Advance?• Identify who is responsible for majoradministrative functions and developsuccession plans• Identify who has responsibility forclosing schools or sending students andstaff to alternative locations—what arethe criteria?• Plan for rapid contract execution• Practice activation of the COOP19


What is Academic Recovery?Purpose: Facilitate students’ return to learning;restore structure and routineKey Steps to ensuring academic Recovery:• Institute temporary adjustments to academicroutines, as necessary• Communicate to administrators, staff, parents,guardians and students on events and next steps• Return to normal academic routine as soon aspossible20


Why is Academics Considered in theRecovery Phase?• Youth exposed to repeated violence and trauma have beenshown to have:• Lower grade point averages (Hurt et al., 2001)• Decreased reading ability (Delaney-Black et al., 2003)• More reported absences from school (Hurt et al., 2001)• Increased expulsions and suspensions (LAUSD survey)• Decreased rates of high school graduation (Grogger,1997)• Restoring, or maintaining, a routine ishelpful for students throughout theRecovery process21


What to Expect in Schools in Absenceof Intervention22• ↓ Cognitive functioning and academicachievement (anxiety, ↓ concentration,sleep problems, depression)• ↑ Absenteeism (school avoidance)• ↑ Suspensions/expulsions (irritability,social regression, substance abuse)• → → ↓ Graduation• Taking time in schools to help childrenadjust to disaster and aftermath isessential to promote academicachievement


What is Psychological/EmotionalRecovery?Purpose: Promote coping and support resiliencyfor students and staff following an emergency23Key Steps to promoting Psychological/EmotionalRecovery:• Recognize the factors that may impactPsychological/Emotional Recovery• Address issues related to traumatic stress• Short- and long-term interventions may benecessary• Work with internal and external partners whocan provide support services—pre-screening iscritical• Training of school and district-level mentalhealth recovery teams


What is Traumatic Stress?• Traumatic stress is an acute distress responsethat is experienced after exposure to acatastrophic event• Traumatic stress occurs because the eventposes a serious, or perceived, threat to:• The individual's life or physical integrity• The life of a family member or close friend• One's surrounding environment24


Circles of ImpactDIRECT EXPOSURE(eye witness)ON SITE(eye witness)INNEIGHBORHOOD25OUT OF VICINITY


How Can Schools Support Psychological/Emotional Recovery in the Short-Term?26• Identify circles of impact and provide triage• Provide mental health resource materialsfor families, students, and staff• Consider Psychological First Aid forSchools (PFA-S)• Make individual and group crisiscounseling available during the first weekafter an emergency• Promote self-care among staff and utilizeEmployee Assistance Programs (EAPs)• Be aware of prior history of risk taking ortrauma


How Can Schools Support Psychological/Emotional Recovery in the Long-Term?• Based on information gained in shorttermintervention, refer students andstaff to long-term interventions• Trauma and grief focused school-basedmental health programs• Cognitive Behavioral Intervention forTrauma in Schools (CBITS)• Supports for Students Exposed to Trauma(SSET)27


How Can Schools Support Psychological/Emotional Recovery in the Long-Term?• Conduct ongoing assessment/monitoring ofmental health of students and staff• Monitor attendance, grades, and counselor’svisits• Provide care for caregivers (compassionfatigue)• Reinforce ongoing prevention programs• Be aware of 'key dates,' such as trials,anniversaries, and holidays• Modify lesson plans and/or testing plans, ifneeded28


Adjustment Over Time in CrisisIABHC29A = baseline functioningB = eventC = vulnerable stateD = usual copingmechanisms failE = helplessness,hopelessnessF = improved functioningDEFG = continued impairmentH = return to baselineI = post-traumatic growthG


How Can Schools Prepare forPsychological/ Emotional Recovery inAdvance?• Develop template letters (that can betailored) for alerting parents, families,guardians, students, and staff toemergencies• Outline strategies for dealing with “emptychairs”• Consider a district policy for memorials• Ensure a process is in place for parentalconsent for receipt of mental healthservices30


Key Issues for the RecoveryPhaseIssue #1: Opening or closing schoolsafter an emergency• Considerations:• How long should the school be closed?• How can parents/guardians weigh in ondecisions about school closures?• Who has the ultimate decision-makingpower regarding school closure?• How will the community be notified?• Ultimate question—Will the children bebetter off in school, or out of school?31


Key Issues for the RecoveryPhase32Issue #2: Memorials after a student or staffdeath• Considerations:• Memorials can be controversial• Questions may arise about how/if policiesshould vary depending on the type ofdeath• Memorials in schools should not add tothe suicide “contagion effect”• A date for removing memorial items• How memorials might reinforce ongoingprevention programming (i.e., scholarshipfunds, etc.)


Key Issues for the RecoveryPhaseIssue #3: How to handle key dates• Considerations:• Be cognizant of anniversary dates butdo not dramatize them• Watch for reactions around holidays,anniversaries, and/or trial dates• Prepare a constructive message foranniversaries• Make sure educators watch for riskbehaviors33


Summary• Planning for Recovery develops from the firstthree phases of emergency management• There are four key components of recovery:• Physical/Structural Recovery• Business Recovery• Academic Recovery• Psychological/Emotional Recovery• The type and breadth of Recovery activitiesneeded will vary based on the size and scopeof the crisis event34


InteractiveScenario35


Scenario• You are a member of the emergencymanagement team at YOUR school.• It’s early morning.• School has just begun for the day.• One school bus is late arriving due toice on the roads.36


Details of the Incident37• The bus has 26 students from themiddle and high schools on board (ages10–17).• As the bus arrives, the driver is unableto stop the bus. The bus skids and thencrashes through the wall of the musicroom. There are 25 students in themusic room.• Two students are killed and 19 studentsare injured—four of them severely.• The bus driver was found to beintoxicated.


What are the firstthree steps youwould take as anemergencymanagement teammember?38


Which students andstaff are most in needof crisis counseling?39


Additional Questions:• What will be your short term mentalhealth recovery/psychological first aidplan?• How will you respond to parents?40


Final Questions:• What will be your mid- to long-termmental health recovery plans?• If, in the days and weeks after thisevent students and parents want toconstruct a memorial – and thenewspaper editors also share that view– what will be your decision?• How should we plan for theanniversary?41


Resources• National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement,Bereavement Guidelines (for responding to the death ofa student or staff member)• http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/svc/alpha/s/schoolcrisis/guidelines-bereavement.htm• National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement,Template Letters for Parents, Students and Staff DuringTimes of Loss• http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/svc/alpha/s/schoolcrisis/letters-template.htm• How Children Grieve: And How Parents and OtherAdults Can Support Them• http://www.cincinnatichildrens.org/svc/alpha/s/school-crisis/parent-guide.htm• Virginia Department of Emergency Management COOPToolkit• http://www.vaemergency.com/library/coop/index.cfm42

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