Education Sector

Sector Overview

The Education Sector consists of Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) programs; all public and private K–12 schools (including charter schools); public and private higher education schools and institutions; U.S. Department of Defense schools; and American-sponsored overseas schools assisted by the U.S. Department of State.

Education facilities (Pre-K through post-secondary) differ in comparison to other CIKR sectors or subsectors requiring infrastructure protection, as education facilities house mostly students for the majority of the day, five days a week or more, and often include after-school and evening activities and events. Further, education facilities are nontraditional emergency response agents, making comprehensive, all-hazards emergency management plans that are practiced and coordinated with community partners (e.g., law enforcement, fire, emergency management services, public health, local government) critical for the subsector. The Education Sector emphasizes that although most schools have some level of security, plans that increase infrastructure protection and resilience constitute a universally applicable and subsector appropriate protective measure that can work to prevent or mitigate an incident and the subsequent consequences, enhancing resilience for the education facility and the surrounding community.

Therefore, such plans are the primary focus of education facility infrastructure protective efforts and are the focus of this sector. The need for comprehensive, all-hazards plans has been highlighted historically and in recent years, as the subsector has been affected by incidents from school violence (e.g., the Columbine HS and Virginia Tech shootings) to devastating natural disasters (e.g., Hurricane Katrina). In addition, education facilities have been affected by hazardous materials and chemical spills that have forced students and staff to evacuate. Also, infectious disease outbreaks, (e.g., H1N1, Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus), and food recalls have also had significant impacts on the subsector.