School Business Affairs January 2019

16 JANUARY 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS SAFE AND SECURE SCHOOLS Crisis Care: Helping Students and Staff Recover District officials are challenged to help staff and students feel safe and secure after a crisis. By Vivian Marinelli recovery, such as the school website or social media platforms. All statements should include cop- ing strategies to soothe the healing process. Keeping the community informed will help control panic and uncertainty as well as guide individuals on how to move forward and stay safe. Diverse Reactions Every school community is a diverse ecosystem of varying ages, eth- nicities, cultures, personalities, and emotions. Each person experiences trauma differently and some of the responses may be unpredictable. This is important to remember when working with children who may feel especially vulnerable if the crisis separates them from their parents during an unfamiliar situation. Some normal physical, psycholog- ical, and behavioral reactions among students and staff after a traumatic event include: • Normal physical reactions — Fight or flight response — Increased sensory acuity —Hyperventilation/dizziness —Trembling/shaking —Nausea/vomiting — Insomnia —Nightmares —Headaches and/or aches and pains • Normal psychological reactions — Shock, numbing, or denial —Time distortion W hether a severe weather situation, an active shooter, or a large-scale evacu- ation, a crisis can occur at any time with little or no warning. When a school community expe- riences a crisis, the effects ripple across the campus and beyond. Stu- dents, teachers, staff, parents, volun- teers, and local community members will feel the impact and each will respond differently. The goal is for school officials to take action to ensure staff and students are safe, families and community members are notified, and help is available for those affected by the incident. Information Is Key After a crisis incident, school offi- cials can expect to be bombarded with questions from parents, the media, and the community. As part of a crisis plan, the communica- tions team is tasked with releasing accurate information as soon as it is available and continuously provid- ing updates. Communication should begin by stating the current impact of the event and the response. Detail the next steps, and explain what is being done to assist those affected. The school community and the public should know where they can find updates and available resources for PRESSMASTER/STOCK.ADOBE.COM