Conducting a School Site Assessment This Summer? Test Your Skills with This Quiz
The photos in this quiz were pulled from actual site assessments conducted on various campuses, including K-12 schools and a church.
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According to the U.S. Department of Education, a Security and Vulnerability Assessment (SVA) is the ongoing process through which school districts and campuses identify and evaluate potential risks and areas of weakness that could adversely impact the campus or school system.
Conducting an SVA allows campuses to find areas of liabilities they did not know existed, develop strategies for prevention and mitigation, and create plans for responding to and recovering from manmade and natural events.
There’s more than one way a school or district can conduct a site assessment. They can hire an outside consultant who has fresh eyes and other campuses they have assessed to help make comparisons. If a campus is looking to conduct its own assessment, it can be done with free resources from government agencies, including SITE ASSESS, a mobile application for education agencies provided by the Readiness and Emergency Management for Schools (REMS) Technical Assistance (TA) Center.
The free application allows personnel to walk around campus buildings and grounds and examine their safety, security, accessibility, and emergency preparedness, according to the website. It generates a customized to-do list that may be used in both the short term and long term to address facility improvements. The list prompts teams to share pertinent information with first responders and contains relevant resources on several preparedness topics.
If your campus is thinking of conducting a site assessment, summer is the perfect time to do it. According to REMS, the benefits of conducting SVAs in the summer include:
- Fewer students and staff and/or shorter school days provide more access to all areas for inspection and assessment.
- Empty areas allow for cleaning and repair not possible or convenient during the school year, which can provide visual access to parts of facilities not visible at other times.
- Nontraditional use or nontypical use of spaces (summer camps, community functions, etc.) gives a different perspective of facilities.
- Fewer classes allow for time for evaluation, assessment, and analysis of data by facilities and maintenance staff and site assessment/planning teams.
- Newly hired teachers, faculty, staff and administrators may provide a fresh perspective on procedures and systems.
- Different-aged students (i.e. higher education campuses hosting K-12 summer camps or K-12 schools hosting adult learning programs) may help discover improvements to safety, security, or accessibility measures.
In the meantime, want to test your site assessment skills? This article’s quiz includes photos from real school SVAs conducted by Gary Sigrist, CEO and president of Safeguard Risk Solutions. Can you spot the vulnerabilities? We also added a few photos that show proper safety measures taken by the featured schools.
Do you have any examples you’re willing to share from your own site assessments? We would keep the school(s) anonymous. Send me an email at [email protected].