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The Delaware Emergency Management Agency implements statewide training for school emergencies

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media
Representatives from New Castle County schools attend the first day of training.

The Delaware Emergency Management Agency has partnered with the I Love U Guys Foundation to train school staff and response personnel to use the “Standard Reunification Method.”

This is in an effort to create a standard statewide protocol for reuniting students with their guardians after a crisis has occurred.

The method itself was developed by the I Love U Guys Foundation, and is considered the gold standard in reuniting students and guardians during any type of crisis, including but not limited to fires, power outages, bomb threats, and acts of violence.

Dan Rector, Emergency Planner for the I Love U Guys Foundation, says the standard reunification method will help with harm reduction during a crisis.

“So it’s what you do after something at school has happened,” he explained. “Maybe it’s resulted in an evacuation and now we just need to make sure that guardians and their students get back together in an organized manner, and that we know that they’re going with the correct guardian.”

The training for the standard reunification method takes two days, and includes both a classroom portion and practical training, where representatives from schools across the state will learn and practice reunification.

Douglas Scheer is with DEMA’s Comprehensive School Safety Program, which was created to enhance public safety in all of Delaware's public schools through the development of comprehensive, site-specific, emergency preparedness and safety plans. He says the training doesn’t end after the initial two-day training session.

“This is a trainer-trainer program, so this isn’t the end of it,” said Scheer. “They need to go back and develop their teams and stand them up on what best fits the needs of those districts or charter schools.”

After the official training session, school staff will then create a team in their district or school to implement a reunification protocol. This allows the standard method to be individualized based on factors that vary between schools, such as the school layout, number of students, and number of staff.

Training sessions have already started, and they will occur in all three counties until August 26th.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware, and graduated from the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021.