Safety and Security Agreements Toolkit

4.3 Key Considerations

How long will the facilities be needed? What will be required to repair/prepare the facility? Will use result in a delay in the resumption of classes?

Restoration of the learning environment is critical to a community’s recovery. Parents need to return to work; students need to return to the familiarity of the learning environment. The faster the school community is normalized, the faster the community as a whole is able to recover. Therefore, campuses may not be the best choices as shelters, except on a very limited basis.

How far will buses be driven? Who will drive? If district drivers are used, how will they be compensated? How will return or repairs be coordinated?

School buses are primarily designed for relatively short trips. They may be useful for shuttling persons from points of rescue to community shelters, but not appropriate for long-distance evacuations. Districts often prefer that their buses be driven by their drivers. If buses are not returned in a timely manner and in good condition, student transportation could be compromised. Issues of compensation and insurance will also need to be addressed.

How will resources be replaced, or costs be reimbursed?

While school districts want to be good neighbors, they have limited resources. Opening facilities, supplying buses and drivers, and providing security or other resources can be very costly. In some cases, cost may be reimbursed by FEMA or by the requesting agency, like the American Red Cross. Reimbursement may take a considerable amount of time. However, budget is always a consideration.