School Business Affairs July-August 2019

26 JULY/AUGUST 2019 | SCHOOL BUSINESS AFFAIRS After the Disaster • Allow extra travel time to affected sites due to their potential accessibility. Determine the safest routes of travel and availability of fuel. • Have facilities teams inspect buildings for structural soundness and air quality before allowing employees to enter buildings. • Deploy technology assessment teams as soon as it is safe to do so. • Have assessment team leads collect and report infor- mation about conditions at each site. • Ensure damage assessment information is collected in a centralized location. • Prioritize the repair of critical technology systems such as payroll and finance. • Determine if cell phone service is widely available in the local area. Communication outages may be short in some areas but may last weeks in others. • Communicate regularly with board members. • Bring in counselors to help students and staff deal with the event and its aftermath. • Leverage the district website to communicate repair status, school closures, and other pertinent informa- tion. The website should be redirected to a location that can handle higher traffic and is not dependent on local infrastructure. • Limit press communications to official channels to ensure the accuracy of data made available to the public. • Establish official channels through which community members can donate funds or otherwise assist with recovery. • Track the status of equipment replacement and repairs at each campus. Evaluating Lessons Learned After the event, identify lessons learned and incorporate into future IT crisis preparation plans. This important activity should be done in two stages: 1. After the immediate crisis has passed, evaluate the emergency response from an IT department perspec- tive while problems are fresh in everyone’s mind. Other operational units should conduct their own emergency response evaluations to determine areas for improvement. 2. Soon thereafter, conduct a districtwide post-mortem with cabinet and emergency staff. Adjust emergency procedures as needed based on the evaluations done by each operational unit. Reprinted with permission from the Consortium for School Networking. . Find additional IT crisis pre- paredness/disaster recovery resources at focus-areas/it-management/send-smart-education-networks- design/it-crisis-preparedness DAN ROSS/SHUTTERSTOCK.COM