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TO:                 Superintendents of Schools/ Private School Administrators


FROM:          Susan A. Gendron, Commissioner


DATE:            January 27, 2004


SUBJECT:     Information on Crisis Planning



***** Please forward to Assistant Superintendents and Principals *****


The United States Department of Education, as part of its continuing efforts to help keep our teachers and students safe, recently released a new Guide to assist schools in planning for any emergency – including natural disasters, violent incidents and terrorist acts.


The Guide, which is titled Practical Information on Crisis Planning:  A Guide for Schools and Communities, lists four areas of crisis management that all school crisis plans should address:


Ř     Mitigation-Prevention, which addresses what schools and districts can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property;

Ř     Preparedness, which focuses on the process of planning for the worst-case scenario;

Ř     Response, which is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis; and

Ř     Recovery, which deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.


Because districts have different needs and face a variety of hazards, the Guide also describes how several districts across the country have approached crisis planning.  Some districts are likely to face tornados or severe weather, while others must address the hazards posed by close proximity to a nuclear power plant or railroad tracks.


            In Spring, 2003, U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige and U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge jointly unveiled a new section on the U.S. Department of Education’s Web site: designed to be a one-stop site to help school officials plan for any emergency.  This Guide, along with other information, is available on this site.