This Week in School and Campus Safety

Good morning,

This Weekly Update by the Illinois School and Campus Safety Program provides information on the new winter safety guidance for sports during COVID-19, links to two new averted violence resources from the COPS office, and shares information for Halloween safety during the pandemic.

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Laura Black
Program Coordinator
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program
COVID-19 Winter Safety Guidelines for Recreational Sports

On Tuesday the Governor's Office and the Illinois Department of Public Health announced the release of winter safety guidelines for recreational sports during the COVID-19 pandemic. The updated guidance can be found on the Restore Illinois website, along with other helpful COVID-19 resources.
COPS Office Releases Resources on Averted K-12 and Higher Ed Violence

The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (The COPS Office) recently released two resources on averted school violence, the School Resource Officers: Averted School Violence Special Report and the Targeted Violence Averted: College and University Case Studies.

Both documents, which feature several case studies, note that they provide evidence "that focusing our attention and resources on prevention can help us attain the goal of zero school shootings. To reach this goal it will be incumbent on all of us to identify best practices and success stories and to share lessons as widely as possible."
Halloween Safety and COVID-19

As the end of the month looms closer, it is normally a time when we like promote Halloween Safety practices. We encourage K-12 schools and institutions of higher education to consider promoting several aspects of Halloween safety (from safe costumes to fire safety) in an effort to get students to use caution when celebrating. However, in addition to the regular safety practices, this year also must take into account COVID-19. The CDC has released information on "Trick or Treating and Other Halloween Activities" during the pandemic, and includes information on making trick or treating safer, wearing a mask, etc. and also features the helpful flyers pictured below.

In addition to COVID-19, here are other safety issues to keep in mind:

  • Considering safety when choosing a costume. Along with including a cloth mask with their costumes, students should choose fire resistant costumes that do not impair their vision nor their ability to be seen.
  • Students should test any makeup in a small spot in advance to ensure they do not have an adverse reaction.
  • Whether students are staying at home or going out, fire safety must be emphasized, especially since a majority of Halloween parties involve alcohol. Alcohol is a factor in a large number of fires and that, combined with Jack-o’-lanterns and costumes, can pose a significant risk during Halloween. Recommend that students use string lights, battery operated lights, or glow sticks for any sort of accent lighting and to illuminate Jack-o’-lanterns. For those still planning to use candles, stress the importance of placing them in areas where they will not be easily knocked over and ensuring they are never left unattended.
  • Emphasize that students, if going out, should stay with people they know and trust, while still being mindful of any food or drink they consume. Just because a student has met someone before or a party seems safe, does not mean students are truly safe or that it is okay to break off from friends.
  • Students should be reminded they still need to obey laws and other regulations. Most importantly, remind students it is okay to step in if they see a friend attempting to drive after drinking.
  • And finally, it is important to prepare for the inevitable. No matter the level of preventative measures, someone will require assistance. Be it calls to the Campus Public Safety (CPS), local law enforcement, or a helpline, students must have prior knowledge of those resources and know how to reach them quickly. In any Halloween safety promotion, consider listing phone numbers for CPS, local law enforcement, suicide and other helplines, and additional resources offered in your area.

Play it safe this Halloween. Promote safety tips in advance and encourage students to use caution while celebrating.
Illinois School and Campus Safety Program