Business Continuity Planning for Schools

It is now generally recognized that Business Continuity Planning is a vital activity. However, the creation of (and maintenance of) a sound business continuity plan, is a complex undertaking, involving a series of critical steps. Prior to creation of the plan itself, it is essential to consider the potential impacts of disaster and to understand the underlying risk not only impacting physical infrastructure but information systems as well: these are the foundations upon which a sound business continuity plan should be built. The district must Identify, document, and implement to recover critical business functions and processes. Here are some planning tips:

  • Maintain off-site, current backups of critical data, vendor lists, employee, constituent and donor contact lists, and other mission-critical information. Backup security is vital.
  • Conduct an insurance review to ensure that insurance is adequate to cover all institutional needs. Keep insurance records with backup information.
  • Explore legal aspects of business continuity with the school board attorney, including discussions about essential personnel, liability, and other critical legal issues.
  • Plan for relocating students, faculty and staff ahead of time before disaster strikes. This process is known as family reunion planning.
  • Inventory everything that would cause the school to cease operations if destroyed.
  • Review all existing service agreements and whether they include adequate post-disaster service provisions and recovery assistance.
  • Review the financial impact of extended downtime.

 School business continuity planning is an important aspect of the operation of any school.

Dr. Sonayia Shepherd (Sony) is the Chief Operating Officer of Safe Havens International.  The author of 16 books on school safety and emergency management, Sony’s work has taken her to many countries including Switzerland, Thailand, Indonesia, Haiti, Guatemala, Angola, South Africa and India.
A popular keynote speaker, Dr. Shepherd has presented at numerous state, national and international professional conferences and many individual school districts across the nation.  Sony welcomes reader feedback and questions at