Someone once said, “safety doesn’t always happen by accident.” This couldn’t be truer. Of course, we also believe in miracles, but it’s always best not to take chances. So, as schools resume, and we prepare to receive our students. We hope you don’t mind us reminding you: Safety first! Students school wants to feel physically and emotionally safe at school.
In this series, we’ve compiled a quick checklist to help you easily earn a safety passmark on all fronts. Here you go:
Have standard physical infrastructure.
It goes without saying that physical infrastructure is only one of the safety requirements for your school. While it is necessary that you refer to the government’s policies, procedures, and regulations, you should ensure there are:
- Classrooms with proper lighting and ventilation
- Buildings with appropriate signage for entrance, exit, and emergency exit
- Designated evacuation area in case of fire, earthquake, and other natural disasters
- School clinic to address medical concerns
- An alternative source of power should there be a power outage
- Counselling centre for mental health concerns
- Library as a repository of academic resources
- Security and safety office for incidents that require legal investigation
Have clear emergency protocols.
Emergencies happen anytime. No matter when emergencies occur, it is important that students, teachers, and other members of staff have sufficient information to respond appropriately to the emergency. Besides, such protocols help everyone in your school confidently assist in emergency cases instead of contributing to the panic.
What you can do:
-Vividly display these protocols within the school premises.
-Practice these protocols, e.g. routine emergency drills.
Set up a working system for managing abuse.
When abuse happens in school, students may feel hesitant or too embarrassed to speak up. It helps to have a seamless complaint flowchart made publicly available to students so that they know who to speak to in the event of harassment, bully, or other forms of abuse.
What you can do:
-Have professionally licensed staff to address medical and emotional concerns.
-Provide established physical, emotional and academic resources for students’ needs.
Ensure all things are in place.
It may seem that you have dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s. However, it always helps to have a handy safety manual for all staff and students. This should also be on the school’s website. To be sure all things are in place. You may want to ask these questions:
- How often do you assess your safety equipment?
- Does the school personnel have regular training and evaluation?
- Is there a plan for routine risk management and assessment?
- Basically, are all things in place?
As we wrap up the first post in this series, let us remember Virginia Smith’s words that, “A student who is concerned for personal safety cannot learn.”
The conversation is not over yet. We’ll like to know your thoughts. Is there something you really wish we talk about as we discuss safety, or do you have any experiences about safety that you would like to share? We’ll love to read them in the comments.
This article was contributed by WriteItClean.