OSPI School Safety Tips for August 2022

Mike Donlin, Program Supervisor, School Safety Center, OSPI
Aug 01, 2022

Safety blog

It’s August! It’s hard to believe that we are starting the 2022–23 school year. But we are. And here we go!

Last year was quite a year, to put it mildly. I suspect that we are all hoping to return to a bit more normalcy in 22–23. We know, though, that there will be a lot of change moving forward. Here are some school safety thoughts to help navigate the changes and find a new normal.

Comprehensive school safety plans, sometimes referred to as Emergency Operations Plans or EOPs), are required by law (RCW 28A.320.125). This is not new. What is new, though, is the fact that now, for the 1st time, we have some required data around those plans. We will be collecting more this school year, as well. Here are some safety plan questions for you to consider moving into 2022–23:

  • Does your school have a comprehensive safety plan?
  • If it does, that’s excellent! Pull it up and read through it!

Then ask yourself:

  • Is the plan current and complete?
  • Have you assessed your school’s risks and hazards? School Climate? Capacity/Strengths?
  • Are you ICS certified?
  • Does your plan include all the required components?
  • (Remember, safety-related flip charts are not a plan.)

Some other considerations for 2022–23:

  • Are there new staff in your school?
  • Are all staff – old and new – aware of the school plan – and trained on the building specifics?
  • What kinds of training do they need?
  • Does everyone understand drill requirements and how drills are exercised in your school?

Finally, as the 2022–23 year kicks off:

  • With all the changes over the spring and summer, be sure you know who your district’s Harassment, and Bullying Compliance Officer (HIB CO) is. There have been a lot of changes in the HIB COs already!
  • Make sure to keep all your exterior and interior doors locked. This is a bare-bones starting point to help ensure safety.
  • Register for this year’s Great Washington ShakeOut, on October 20 at 10:20 am. Even if you registered in the past or plan to actually practice your drop, cover, and hold-on at a different time, register, and be sure that your school is registered. The goal is 100% of school and students.

We’ll have more on a lot of these ideas, and more, as we go through the year. Feel free to contact our office or the Regional School Safety Center at your ESD. There is a lot going on.

2022–23, here we come!

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