Emergency Plans and Communications


Robbinsdale Area Schools is dedicated to an excellent education for all our students in a safe environment.  While every precaution is taken to avoid crises, the district has invested significant resources in the development and constant evaluation of emergency procedures covering a broad range of potential scenarios that could occur in our facilities. Staff is well-trained, emergency procedures are posted for reference, and drills take place at regular intervals to ensure quick response to any crisis.

District-wide Implementation of Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports 

Some crises, such as natural disasters, are naturally outside of the control of the school district. Others are preventable. The most effective strategies for crisis prevention include ways to keep students engaged and in class. Because of Robbinsdale Area Schools' deep commitment to academic excellence, the district has fully embraced Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), a research-based framework of schoolwide interventions designed to keep students in class.  The district has created an implementation plan that provides opportunity for sharing ideas, strategies and solutions, and a common language for every staff member.  In addition, the district-wide implementation helps schools to be very intentional about helping students learn expectations and positive behaviors, which in turn increases student engagement, responsibility, and a sense of belonging.

Crisis management

Robbinsdale Area Schools has sound emergency procedures in place, and proper training for employees to implement procedures, should a crisis arise. In almost every scenario, the rule of thumb for action on the part of first responders to a crisis in a district facility is as follows:

  • Call 9-1-1
  • Respond to immediate needs of students and staff
  • Notify district administration
  • District administration mobilizes district resources to assist emergency responders

Specific procedures with variations to these general procedures are indexed for easy access by staff in an emergency for a great many crisis scenarios ranging from natural disasters to school bus accidents.

Crisis communications

 A crisis communications plan is in place to ensure accurate information reaches students, staff and families quickly. Information is provided immediately to the following sources for access by the public:

  • District website
  • Email to district families and staff
  • Posts on district Facebook and Twitter pages
  • District and school receptionists
  • Media
  • Key communicators within the district

Emergency preparedness
Both the district and each school building have Emergency Procedures Handbooks that are reviewed frequently by administrators that are responsible for leading crisis response teams. Principals also follow a routine drill schedule each year to re-familiarize both staff and students with proper procedure for evacuations, reverse-evacuations (in case of an event occurring on the grounds, students return to the safety of the building) and lockdowns that keep the student population safe in their classrooms.

Robbinsdale Area Schools Basic Plan Section of Emergency Procedures Handbook


Oversight of this plan is the responsibility of the school board. Maintenance and implementation of the plan is the responsibility of the superintendent and delegated individuals in coordination with local emergency response agencies.

The purpose of this plan is to establish the ongoing and continuous safety, security, and emergency management roles and responsibilities of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD#281 using the four phases of emergency management – Mitigation/Prevention, Preparedness, Response, and Recovery.
Mitigation/Prevention addresses what schools can do to reduce or eliminate risk to life and property.
Preparedness focuses on the process of planning resulting in a rapid, coordinated and effective response to a crisis.
Response is devoted to the steps to take during a crisis.
Recovery deals with how to restore the learning and teaching environment after a crisis.
This plan is intended to assist Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 to act quickly and decisively in an emergency while working to eliminate or minimize the possibility of an event.  This plan utilizes the National Incident Management System framework along with hazard specific procedures that enhance the effort to save lives, protect the health and safety of students and employees, and protect school property from naturally occurring hazards, technological failures and human caused events.
Sections of this plan apply to incidents that directly or indirectly affect a single student up to the entire community. Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 also recognizes that incidents may occur before, during, or after school hours and may occur on campus, during school activities, during school transport or off campus in the community.
This plan will serve as a guide to aid leaders through incidents where crucial decisions must be made, often with inadequate information, not enough time and insufficient resources at the onset.
Much of the information that is needed to implement a plan like this one should be treated as sensitive and thus should be kept internal to district employees and emergency responders.  The exact plans, locations, routes, and communication methods may be useful information to potential terrorists or other criminals.
The plan itself is organized into two distinct parts; the “Basic Plan” and a series of job action sheet checklists and hazard specific procedures.  The basic plan provides overall concepts and assignment of responsibility, which can be shared with the public.  It does not contain great amounts of detail. The detailed information in the checklists and annexes makes them sensitive and are not considered to be public documents.

This plan provides a basic emergency response structure, recommended emergency response roles and hazard specific emergency procedures.This plan applies to:
  • Employees
  • Students
  • Parents and Guardians
  • Volunteers
  • Community Planners
  • Emergency First Responders

Under the authority of the school board, this plan may be implemented by the superintendent, building principal, building manager or designee when a real or potential threat to health and safety or to building property exists or any potential incident that significantly disrupts day to day operation.

 as used in this plan means a set of circumstances that demand immediate action to protect life, preserve public health or essential services, or protect property. In an emergency, existing resources and capabilities are sufficient to cope with the situation.
“Disaster” is defined as any incident which results in multiple human casualties and/or disruption of essential public health services or any incident which requires an increased level of response beyond the routine operating procedures, including increased personnel, equipment, or supply requirements. An emergency or disaster may be proclaimed by local government jurisdictions or the Governor as authorized by state or local statute.
Crisis is defined as an incident, or series of incidents, expected or unexpected, that has a significant effect on one or more persons but may not involve the entire school or community.  An incident involving violence, or the witnessing of violence, often has a lasting effect on those involved. The psychosocial effects of a crisis may linger for extensive periods of time and may impact the psychosocial functioning of a school or community.  Without intervention, such incidents may evolve into large scale incidents. These interventions typically include counseling of those involved using techniques of psychological first aid, critical incident debriefing, the use of “safe rooms” and other mental health-oriented methods.
Planning Assumptions

The following assumptions are the basis of this plan:
  • A single site emergency, i.e. fire, gas main breakage, etc, could occur at any time without warning and the employees of the school affected cannot, and should not, wait for direction from local response agencies. Action is required immediately to save lives and protect school property.
  • An emergency or disaster, such as severe weather or hazardous material incident, may occur with little or no warning with mass casualties, destruction of property, and damage to the environment.
  • Local and state government may be overwhelmed by a disaster. Schoolemployees may be with little or no assistance for at least three days or longer after a disaster.
  • Government and relief agencies will concentrate limited resources on the most critical and life-threatening problems.
  • Assistance from other government and federal agencies will supplement the state and local effort, but such assistance will take some time to request and deploy.
  • The first concern of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 employees will be for their families’ safety. Employees should take basic steps to prepare their homes ahead of time by stockpiling food and supplies in addition to designating necessary emergency contacts.
Planning Limitations

It is the policy of Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 that no guarantee is implied by this plan of a perfect response system. As personnel and resources may be overwhelmed, Robbinsdale Area Schools ISD# 281 can only endeavor to make every reasonable effort to respond based on the situation, resources, and information available at the time.
No set of emergency procedures can cover every possible crisis scenario exactly; therefore this plan is designed to provide general guidance and a series of general guiding principles. School and district employees still must assess each situation and adapt the plan to fit the crisis situation based on information and resources available at the time of the crisis based on information, available resources and the ability of personnel to function under stressful and potentially dangerous conditions at the time of the crisis.
Concept of Operations

 The Incident Command System is intended to be flexible and tiered to the appropriate scope and level of each response ranging from local to national incidents. Annexes of hazard specific procedures will provide the details needed to make this plan functional.