Everbridge recently hosted a Safety Experts Plan for Fall webinar, with an expert panel comprised of Dr. Rashid Chotani (Chief Medical Director/Senior Scientist, IEM), Steven J. Healy (President and CEO, Margolis Healy), Marisa R. Randazzo, Ph.D. (CEO and Founder, SIGMA Threat Management Associates) and James Podlucky (Industry Solutions Manager, Everbridge). The panel was moderated by Dan Pascale, Executive VP, Margolis Healy.
Geared towards organizations in the higher learning industry, the webinar focused its attention on how the changing social sphere, matched with the ever-changing circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, would affect campuses as they prepare and begin the Fall 2021 semester. Topics such as social justice on campus, how public health expectations have changed due to the pandemic, and the need for behavioral threat assessments we’re all discussed.
Preparedness leads to success, and the expert panel provided four key takeaways to help organizations prepare effectively.
Public Health: (Dr. Rashid Chotani)
According to Dr. Rashid Chotani, the most important and critical thing to understand is that, as of July 2021, COVID-19 cases are at the same level as they were in July 2020. This is something that needs to be considered before organizations make any decisions that could impact public health. Public health should be the number one priority coming into this fall and decisions concerning health need to be made that are based on the most up-to-date data. Decisions should be targeted decisions for individual communities and targeted interventions that are required for each of those institutions.
School Safety: (Steven J. Healy)
Transparency, accountability, and a differential alternative response are of top priority concerning school safety. Policing and campus safety officials need to do things differently and better, to align their mission, vision, values, to the expectations of community members. Accountability impacts campus policing, as well as campus safety. There are local and regional differences in how issues are dealt with which is important to keep in mind.
Threat Assessment: (Marisa R. Randazzo, Ph.D.)
According to Marisa R. Randazzo, Ph.D., now is a great time to get your Threat Assessment Team together. This type of team functions as an umbrella that brings together different departments that manage different aspects of a problem together. In situations where individuals or groups may be experiencing threats or concerns, this team helps to coordinate efforts across different departments to ensure that they can deal with the process efficiently and effectively.
Technology: (James Podlucky)
The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced the need for organizations to have communication fundamentals, as well as the ability to innovate faster when threats arise. One piece of an effective communication strategy is cybersecurity awareness. The K–12 and higher education spaces saw the most cybersecurity threats during the pandemic. Podlucky recommends having an awareness campaign of what is occurring on campus to share with students, faculty, and staff in a remote manner. Another important consideration is life safety and security. Wellness checks and contact tracing are two examples of life safety measures, both of which became routine in the past year to ensure that individuals were healthy. The last consideration is community engagement. Campus tours are an important way to ensure that incoming and prospective students can get a feel for a school and the community it fosters, but from a technological standpoint they had to be conducted virtually. Changing the manner these tours were held ensured that community engagement was still possible, while keeping individuals away from potential threats to their health and safety. Communications, life safety and security, and community engagement are important factors to consider from a technology standpoint for these institutions.