IT Crisis Preparedness


Before a disaster strikes, it is incumbent upon school system IT personnel to have emergency operations plans in place to ensure continuity of learning. Natural disasters can be spontaneous events, requiring school system leaders to implement and train team members on procedures so that they can act swiftly. Administrative and school personnel should be able to assess damage quickly, update all stakeholders, bring critical systems back online, and resume operations as quickly as possible.

COVID-19, or the Coronavirus, has prompted school system leaders to reassess their overall disaster preparedness. Unlike natural disasters, which may be confined to a certain geographical location, the novel coronavirus impacted all school systems in the U.S., thrusting IT leaders nationwide into uncharted waters. Learning Continuity preparedness should include emergency operations planning for public health emergencies, including pandemics. Contagious disease outbreaks such as measles, flu, and COVID-19 are just a few of the public health emergencies that can impact technology operations. School Systems must be prepared to assess the impact of the emergency on operations, update stakeholders, maintain critical systems, support the delivery of key services, and support a responsible restoration of
operations once the emergency is under control.

In the worst-case scenario, a school system may face simultaneous emergencies, such as an earthquake or tornado coupled with a pandemic outbreak. Regardless of the nature or scope of the disaster, a carefully considered IT continuity plan, as part of a larger emergency operations plan, is critical for school systems to respond to natural disasters and public health emergencies. School system leaders should provide all personnel with secure operations and learning continuity plans that they can access remotely. These plans should be safeguarded to prevent them from being compromised by agitators seeking out potential vulnerabilities.

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