Policy Matters Preview: SDOHS school safety assessment

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Policy Matters Preview: SDOHS school safety assessment

ASBSD’s Policy Matters publication will be available tomorrow. The May edition centers around school safety. Below is an article on the school safety assessment completed by the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security.


Being vigilant of student safety is an ongoing task for school districts and the South Dakota Office of Homeland Security offers additional resources for school officials to maintain the high level of safety they already provide.


Automated Critical Asset Management System or ACAMS is a facility and procedural review of a school district’s safety setting completed by SDOHS.


“It really gets into a business continuity plan (of safety procedures) as well as a physical assessment of the facility,” Homeland Security Director James Carpenter said of the assessment.


Carpenter said the assessment’s been in development for five years and is completed on-site by a representative(s) from the Office of Homeland Security. ACAMS reviews the physical protections of the building, safety awareness programs and procedures, cyber-security, disaster prevention and response and emergency contacts.


Carpenter said SDOHS has visited school districts with good physical protections, but need direction in terms of safety procedures.


“Schools have done an absolutely stupendous job with the resources available,” Carpenter said. “We’re just trying to give them a little bit more information.”


School districts can schedule an assessment by contacting the SDOHS office at 605-773-3450 or at dpshomelandsecurity@state.sd.us. The assessment can be completed at any time throughout the year.


In addition to the assessment, SDOHS is engaged in a study of school safety and best possible practices with ASBSD, the Department of Education, School Administrators of South Dakota and other parties.


“The study offers a pragmatic look at the best possible practices for keeping schools safe done by a diverse group,” ASBSD Executive Director Wade Pogany said. “This is exactly what our state and school districts need before heading into next the next school year.”


Carpenter said the study is drafting a of emergency and safety resource for school districts.


“We’re beginning to have conversations that start the process to improving safety plans and procedures,” Carpenter said. “What we want to do is give schools a tool to tailor a (safety) plan for their district.”


For updates on the safe schools study, check the ASBSD Blog.

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