The unique characteristics of children dictate the need for school-based all-hazards response plans during natural disasters, emerging infectious diseases, and terrorism. Schools are a critical community institution serving a vulnerable population that must be accounted for in public health preparedness plans; prepared schools are adopting policies and plans for crisis preparedness, response, and recovery. The importance of having such plans in place is underscored by the development of a new Healthy People 2020 objective (PREP-5) to “increase the percentage of school districts that require schools to include specific topics in their crisis preparedness, response, and recovery plans”. Because decisions about such plans are usually made at the school district level, it is important to examine district-level policies and practices.
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