Top school safety and security concerns that existed prior to the pandemic, such as active shooters, crime, bullying, and cyberbullying, must now be balanced with newer COVID-19 health and safety challenges. These newer procedures, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and the need to plan and communicate health concerns to parents, may in fact remain in place for a long time. A recent survey of K-12 schools underscores the additional safety factors facing K-12 administrators, staff, students, and families. Key findings identify COVID-related safety measures as the top concern for the 2021-2022 school year (as well as in higher education). Administrators across K-12 districts report student mental health as their second-largest concern.
Clearly, balancing pandemic safety precautions with the more traditional security and behavioral needs will challenge school districts during the next school year. Despite the prioritization of COVID-19 precautions over the past year, school security mandates remain in place. Several states now require threat assessments in K-12 schools. Pennsylvania now requires safety and security assessments to measure preparedness. These requirements remain in place even though many schools are operating remotely or in a hybrid configuration. In future posts, I will examine each of the reported top safety concerns for K-12.