Council for American Private Education

Voice of America's Private Schools

Cape Kids

Crisis Planning

Private Schools Preparing Together


Crisis. The word is short and chilling. And within a school setting, it is especially unsettling. It can involve a single student or an entire community. It can be an accident, an incident of violence, a natural disaster, or an act of terrorism. But whatever its form, a crisis is something for which school officials, especially in this day and age, must be ready. CAPE has compiled this collection of resources to help private school officialsplan for a crisis.

The range of resources includes those provided by government agencies, such as the U.S. Department of Education, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as those provided by private organizations and associations.  All the resources listed are free and non-commercial.  Topics cover general crisis planning as well as preparations for specific emergencies, such as a possible pandemic flu.

The page will be updated periodically. Knowing that the collective knowledge of the private school community is far more extensive than that of any one person or organization, we hope to tap and share the wisdom of the group by inviting members of the community to let us know about resources that might be helpful to others.  Please send your ideas and links to Contact CAPE. Such resources might include, though are by no means limited to, model disaster plans that schools could adjust to meet their needs, examples of school/government partnerships for disaster preparedness, or action steps that have been helpful in the past. By pooling our knowledge and resources we can help one another to be better prepared if disaster strikes.

General Resources

  • Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities - This is one document that schools should not be without. The PDF guide provides useful advice on how to develop and carry out crisis management plans through four stages: mitigation and prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery.
  • Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance Center - The center serves as a source of both general and customized information. One of its most important and practical services is to respond to particular questions and requests for information. Private school officials, for example, can ask the experts to track down sample crisis plans for private schools or to suggest strategies for addressing a unique factor in the community. Also check out the highly informative ERCM resources and ERCM newsletters.
  • Ready America - Produced by the Advertising Council in partnership with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the campaign is designed "to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks."Also check out Ready Business and Ready Kids, which are both applicable to schools.
  • Lead & Manage My School - Emergency planning resources from the U. S. Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.
  • Is Everybody Ready? Emergency Preparedness - Resources compiled by the National Association of Independent Schools.
  • Commander Ready Program - The District of Columbia's Commander Ready program is "designed to educate and engage children ages 5-13 in emergency preparedness. This program is led by Reggie and Rachel, and their dog, Rodney."

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Pandemic Flu

  • - "One-stop access" to government avian and pandemic flu information, managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Pandemic Flu: A Planning Guide for Educators - "Identifies issues to consider when planning for seasonal flu, a mild or moderate pandemic flu, or a severe pandemic. It tells what a flu pandemic is, how influenza spreads, and what can be done to limit the spread of the flu." The guide was published October 2006 and is accompanied by an important letter from Education Secretary Spellings and a one-page review of planning fundamentals entitled Basic Components of Pandemic Planning.
  • School Planning for the Pandemic Flu - Resources prepared by various government agencies to assist schools "in developing and/or improving plans to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic."
  • State Pandemic Information - Developed by the federal government, this site provides state-by-state pandemic information, including each state's pandemic plan.
  • Child Care and Preschool Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist - Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Education.
  • School District (K-12) Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist - Developed by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Department of Education.
  • Emergency Planning: Pandemic - A collection of resources compiled by the U.S. Department of Education "to assist with disseminating health information, planning for staff and student absences, and maintaining a learning environment during a pandemic."
  • Emergency Procedures Manual for American-Sponsored Overseas Schools - The U.S. Department of State's Web site posts only one chapter from this manual, a chapter"to help schools prepare for pandemics in general and specifically for the avian flu." Though intended for American schools overseas, the chapter is a valuable resource for all schools.
  • Avian Influenza - The latest on the bird flu from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington (AISGW) - In March 2006, AISGW held a valuableconference call on the avian flu between private school officials and officials from the National Institutes for Health. A podcast and PowerPoint presentation are available for download.
  • Webcast of DC Pandemic Influenza Summit - In April 2006, the Department of Health of the District of Columbia brought together government officials, "business and community leaders, members of the health care community, representatives from faith-based organizations, the education community and a broad spectrum of other stakeholders to discuss national and District preparedness for a possible influenza pandemic."
  • Germstopper Campaign - A campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help stop the spread of germs.
  • Pandemic Flu School Action Kit - A comprehensive resource for schools provided byContra Costa Health Services, thehealth system for Contra Costa County, CA.
  • Schools Responding to Infectious Disease - A guide for schools fromthe U.S. Department of Education's Emergency Response and Crisis Management (ERCM) Technical Assistance Center.

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Natural Disasters

  • FEMA – The Federal Emergency Management Agency provides information on preparing for earthquakes, fires, floods, hurricanes, landslides, thunderstorms, tornados, winter storms, and wildfires, not to mention human-caused emergencies like chemical spills, terrorism attacks, and nuclear accidents.

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Promising Practices

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