This Week in School and Campus Safety

Good morning,

This Weekly Update by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program shares considerations for higher ed winter weather preparedness, provides one last chance to register for the upcoming threat assessment special issues and applications class, and promotes the wellness, trauma recovery, and resilience class.

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Laura Black
Program Coordinator
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program
Winter Weather Preparedness Part III: Higher Ed Preparedness

Over the last couple weeks we discussed preparing buildings for winter weather and K-12 winter weather preparedness. This week we look at Higher Education winter weather considerations. Like K-12 schools, Institutions of Higher Education (IHEs) must be prepared for winter weather effecting buildings, classes, transportation, ect. However, IHEs also have different concerns to take into consideration.

For example, unlike most K-12 schools whose students typically leave at the end of the school day, IHEs have students who live on campus. Even if severe weather closes campus, it is critically important residence halls remain operational. Some concerns include:

  • What plans are in place if severe weather creates a power outage and neither electricians nor the utility company can respond? Are plans in place to relocate students if need be? Does the relocation site have the necessary resources?
  • Although many students keep food in their rooms, do they have enough should they be stuck in their residence hall? Are resources readily accessible, even in severe weather, if they don’t have enough supplies? 
  • In addition to those living on campus, what about commuters who get trapped there? Are there places for them to go? Do the students know those locations are available?
  • What about students trapped on campus that have or develop COVID-19?

Additional concerns include:

  • The potential miles of walkways and numerous large parking lots that need attended to in order for students and staff to safely get around campus.
  • The safety of those not familiar with the weather in the area. Unlike K-12 schools whose student population is typically from the area, IHEs have students from different countries and states. Some may have never experienced severe winter weather and some may lack appropriate seasonal clothing.
  • Are students traveling over breaks and, if so, do they know to have emergency supplies with them if they become stranded?
  • Are there any animals on campus that may require attention, such as a live school mascot or animals associated with a program of education?

IHEs must consider these and other potential issues when planning for winter weather emergencies. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency’s (IEMA) website has several resources and tips for winter weather preparedness, including IEMA’s Winter Storm Preparedness Guide . The 10-page guide includes statistical information on winter weather in Illinois; winter weather terms used by the National Weather Service; lists for creating emergency supply kits; information for schools, travelers, and farmers; and more. The Illinois School and Campus Safety Resource Center website features a Severe Weather resource page, which includes winter weather resources.
Last Chance to Register! Threat Assessment and Management in a Campus Setting: Special Issues and Applications Class on November 11th in Chicago

This is the last chance to register! Registration closes today for the "Threat Assessment and Management in a Campus Setting: Special Issues and Applications" class on November 11 at the University of Illinois in Chicago. This training on higher ed threat assessment features Gene Deisinger, Ph.D. and will help participants to better understand the dynamics of targeted violence and to develop and enhance strategies for early identification, assessment, and intervention. This training is intended for persons who have completed courses in the foundations of threat assessment and management. For more information and to register, click here.
Upcoming Preparing for the Unimaginable: An In-Depth Look at Wellness, Trauma Recovery, and Resilience Class on December 14th via Zoom

The Illinois School and Campus Safety Program is pleased to announce a session of the class Preparing for the Unimaginable: An In-Depth Look at Wellness, Trauma Recovery, and Resilience on December 14th from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm via Zoom. This class is for both K-12 schools and Institutions of Higher Education, as well as law enforcement and other school and campus safety stakeholders. For more information and to register, click here.
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program