P.O. BOX 2120




October 22, 2004




Division Superintendents



Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Crisis Management Plans


Given the unfortunate nature of international events as recently demonstrated by the terrorist attack on a Russian school, it is extremely important that Virginia schools undertake plans to review, update, modify, and to refine their crisis management plans.


As you are aware, crisis management plans for Virginia schools have been required since 1999. The Code of Virginia Department of Education 22.1-279.8 states: Every school board in Virginia shall develop a written school crisis and emergency management plan I want to be sure that you are familiar with selected resources that can be helpful in undertaking this important work.


This past fall, Rod Paige, the U.S. Secretary of Education, sent information to all schools across the country about the importance of school emergency crisis plans. The letter was accompanied by brochures entitled, Practical Information on Crisis Planning: A Guide for Schools and Communities. If you are not familiar with this brochure, a copy may be downloaded in PDF or Word versions:


In addition, by logging onto the U.S. Department of Educations website at, you can also order a copy of the publication, A Guide for Schools and Communities, which provides detailed information for developing a more comprehensive plan. The website also offers a wealth of information and links to other useful resources related to crisis planning.


Another important resource for addressing terrorist-types of incidents is available from the National Strategy Forum website: The report, School Safety in the 21st Century: Adapting to New Security Challenges Post-9/11, provides information to enable schools to adapt existing emergency plans to encompass a catastrophic terrorism incident and to develop and implement all-hazard emergency plans.


In addition to information from the U.S. Department of Education, the following Virginia-specific resources are available:


Office of Commonwealth Preparedness


Department of Criminal Justice Services

Virginia Center for School Safety


Department of Education

Resource Guide for Crisis Management in Virginia Schools, 2002

(Hard copies of this publication are available upon request)


Model School Crisis Management Plan, 1999


Department of Emergency Management


Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Substance Abuse Services


Additional funding for the School Emergency Response and Crisis Management Plan Discretionary Grant Program from the U.S. Department of Education through the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools is expected to be available in 2005. More information about this grant program is available on the website:



Questions may be directed to Arlene Cundiff, coordinator of

the Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program, at 804-225-2871 or