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REMS TA Center


Welcoming International Students and Scholars to Your Campus This Year? Tips for Being Ready

International College Students International students and visiting professors may not be citizens of this country; but, they do become members of your institution of higher education (IHE) campus community, which means that administrators and planning teams must consider them when developing and revising an emergency operations plan (EOP). Their unique status may prompt some questions and communication challenges in terms of how to incorporate them into the emergency management and planning processes. The Guide for Developing High-Quality Emergency Operations Plans for Institutions of Higher Education (IHE Guide) recommends a six-step planning process for EOP development that can help you address these challenges. If you have not already, this academic year may be a great time to review your EOP against the IHE Guide to ensure that it aligns with Federal laws and regulations related to emergency management, and to ensure that all plans and procedures consider how to handle international students and scholars. We’ve outlined some items your EOP planning team might want to think about for each step of the planning process as it relates to the international members of your campus community.

  • Step 1: Form a Collaborative Planning Team. Consider including a representative from your IHE’s international student office in planning meetings.
  • Step 2: Understand the Situation. Contact your legal department to make sure your IHE complies with all Federal and international laws when conducting campus threat assessments.
  • Step 3: Determine Goals and Objectives. During this step, be sure to include a team member who understands the process to collaborate with local, state, and Federal law enforcement in the case of an emergency that involves an international student or scholar.
  • Step 4: Plan Development (Identifying Courses of Action). When conducting scenario-based planning and developing courses of action, make sure at least one involves international students so that you can match available resources to your EOP’s requirements.
  • Step 5: Prepare, Review, and Approve the Plan. Once your plan is complete, send it to your legal department and the international student office to ensure compliance across the board.
  • Step 6: Implement and Maintain the Plan. If your IHE does not do this already, consider hosting a special session for incoming students and scholars to ensure they are aware of what to do in the event of an emergency on campus.

For more information on how to incorporate international students and scholars into the emergency management and planning process, visit our site: http://rems.ed.gov/IHEIncorpIntlStudents.aspx.

Tips for K-12 Back to School Emergency Management Planning

It’s September and time to head back to school! What better way to start off the new school year than by working to create or update a customized, all-hazards school emergency operations plan (EOP) that will meet the unique needs of your whole school community! The Federal Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans (School Guide) recommends a six-step planning process that invites multiple perspectives for information gathering, prioritizing, goal setting, execution of specific activities, and writing and evaluating the plan.

Step 1 of this process recommends that the best way to develop a high-quality EOP is through collaboration with school and district personnel, as well as community partners. If you do not have an EOP in place, or you would like to ensure your EOP is up-to-date with the latest Federal guidance, the start of the school year is a perfect time to convene your planning team and revisit your planning process. This includes setting up a schedule of meetings for the year, and plans for training on the EOP, as well as conducting drills and exercises.   

For additional information and tools to help with all of these aspects of school emergency management planning, please see the REMS TA Center’s REMSExpress publication on the K-12 Six-Step Planning Process. You may also use our online Tools to help assess your capacity to develop a plan or evaluate your existing plan, as well as a Web-accessible software application to generate a plan. Find these resources and more at the TA Center’s Website at rems.ed.gov.  

There are more ways to celebrate the “Back to School” season and to increase preparedness:

  • Celebrate National Preparedness Month.
  • Register with America’s PrepareAthon!
  • Address school emergency management, preparedness, and safety at “Back toSchool Night.”
  • Sign up for the REMS Community of Practice and create a forum to see how others are integrating “Back to School” themes into their preparedness efforts.
  • Keep in touch with your community partners.
  • Teach and re-teach healthy behaviors to students.
  • Create a slogan campaign about school safety and have kids design posters.
  • Create social media messages to encourage awareness and preparedness.
  • Consider creating or promoting Teen or Campus CERT at your district or institution of higher education.

Don’t Wait. Communicate and Participate in America’s PrepareAthon! and the Great ShakeOut Drill

Don't Wait Communicate banner

This month is not only the start of a new academic year, but it’s also one of the most important months in the emergency management community—National Preparedness Month, which ends on September 30 with National PrepareAthon! Day. We know that many of you participated in the April 30 National PrepareAthon! Day events, and we’d love to hear about what you did then and what you plan to do this month. Visit the REMS TA Center Community of Practice and the related America’s PrepareAthon! forums to share how you’ve participated in this national campaign both in April and this month, and remember to register any and all activities via the FEMA site (ready.gov/prepare). There are many ways you can do that, including:

  • Register for America’s PrepareAthon! via the PrepareAthon! Website.
  • Update the national preparedness community on the activities you are planning.
  • Add an event to the America’s PrepareAthon! page and update your participants count.

And don’t forget that the campaign continues through October, with communities, schools, and institutions of higher education around the country participating in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, an annual opportunity to practice what to do during earthquakes and to improve preparedness. Make sure that you register earthquake activities on the Great ShakeOut Website, which are also counted in America's PrepareAthon! participation totals.

For general information about how to participate in America’s PrepareAthon!, visit http://rems.ed.gov/Prepareathon.aspx.

For general information about how to participate in the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, visit http://rems.ed.gov/Shakeout.aspx

We’ve Been Around the Country and Back

U.S.Map with REMS training sitesStaff on the REMS TA Center team have spent the past 3 months bringing more than 15 subject matter experts to schools and school districts around the country to discuss key topics on school emergency management and to support training and preparedness efforts. Take a look at the places we’ve been and the places we’ll be in September.

Interested in having us come to your neck of the woods? Visit our Training by Request page (http://rems.ed.gov/TA_TrainingsByRequest.aspx) to learn how you can host a training at your school, school district, or institution of higher education.

A New School Year, a New Season, and a New Site

Computer, tablet and mobile phone mockeup of new REMS websiteOur Website got a makeover, and we hope you like it! We are excited to share this mini-preview of our newly designed Website, which will be launched later this month. If you have any notes or thoughts on the new site once it’s launched, e-mail them to info@remstacenter.org under the subject line New REMS TA Center Website.



EOP ASSIST Updates and Events in September 2015

EOP Assist iconTo help school administrators and emergency management personnel create or revise their emergency operations plan (EOPs), the REMS TA Center released a free, Web-accessible software application, EOP ASSIST, in January 2015. This user-friendly application walks school and district emergency management personnel through the six-step planning process for creating a customized school EOP recommended in the Federal Guide for Developing High-Quality School Emergency Operations Plans. Since January, more than 350 practitioners have downloaded this application.

Based on the feedback we received from users in the field since its launch, the TA Center is planning to release a major update to EOP ASSIST in September 2015 that will:

  • Allow for state-level hosting and state administrator functions.
  • Increase management capabilities of school districts over the management of school EOPs.
  • Enhance the compatibility of EOP ASSIST with server software (both MySQL and SQL Server).
  • Streamline the planning process with an improved user interface that allows for easier plan formatting options.

The update is now available at http://rems.ed.gov/EOPAssist.aspx. Please note that this update will be compatible with previously downloaded versions of the application. In other words, any plan content developed with an earlier version of EOP ASSIST will be maintained with this update.

Also by request from the field, the REMS TA Center is pleased to announce the release of the EOP ASSIST Interactive Workbook. This workbook will contain the same content as EOP ASSIST in a Microsoft Word format and will be available to any users who prefer to use an offline version of this tool. The workbook will be available for download from the REMS TA Center Website, or is available via jump drives.

Finally, the REMS TA Center will be hosting an EOP ASSIST Webinar on September 22 and an EOP ASSIST virtual meeting on September 24. The Webinar will showcase the features and functions of EOP ASSIST and provide information about the new updates to EOP ASSIST. The virtual meeting will allow practitioners to pose questions and discuss EOP ASSIST with each other and with the EOP ASSIST team from the Office of Safe and Healthy Students and the REMS TA Center. For more information or to register for these events, please visit http://rems.ed.gov/TA_Webinars.aspx.

For more information about EOP ASSIST, please visit http://rems.ed.gov/EOPAssist.aspx.

New Publications and Resources… Coming Soon

Emergency Management Virtual Toolkit

Screen shot of Emergency Management Virtual ToolkitStay tuned for the release of a virtual toolkit that state education agencies (SEAs) and their partners (e.g., emergency management agencies, state departments of health) around the country can store on their state sites. School districts may be interested in the toolkit as well. The toolkit will feature up-to-date resources, information, and training opportunities from the REMS TA Center, the U.S. Department of Education and other Federal agencies. It will be synchronized so that those entities who opt to include it as a part of their Website can feel confident that they are providing the most current information. We can’t wait to share it when it’s live! If you’re interested in receiving a copy for your SEA, please e-mail us at info@remstacenter.org under the Emergency Management Virtual Toolkit.

Teen CERT Toolkit

Teen CERT Toolkit iconStay tuned for the release of this print-based toolkit, which will include everything a school needs to develop and implement a Teen CERT program, including PowerPoint presentations for principals, course descriptions, permission forms, classroom training supplies, and more. The toolkit will include details for administrators and classroom teachers. For a preview of the toolkit pre-launch, view the resources provided as a supplement to the Teen CERT: Enhancing School Emergency Management Through Youth Engagement and Preparedness Webinar we held in May in collaboration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual and Community Preparedness Division and Susan Graves, Safety Coordinator for Lincoln County School District in Oregon.

Help Us Update Our Tools

State Map

U.S. State mapHave you viewed our map of state emergency management resources? It showcases state emergency management resources, state safety and security mandates and policies, details on state/field office of Federal partners, specifics on laws related to adult sexual misconduct in schools, and information about grantees. If you would like to add or update resources from your state, please e-mail us at info@remstacenter.org under the subject line State Emergency Management Resources. We want this resource to be relevant and useful for YOU!  

Tool Box

Tool boxHave you viewed our Tool Box? It’s a virtual library of tools developed by practitioners in the field containing relevant resources pertinent to the needs of local education agencies and institutions of higher education (IHEs) and their partners as they engage in the process of school and IHE emergency management planning. Do you have a tool or template to share? Visit our Tool Box Submission page.



Quick Links


If you have questions or need additional assistance, please contact the REMS TA Center at 1-855-781-REMS [7367] or via email at info@remstacenter.org