Risk Control Newsletter – August 2020

August 11, 2020

In This Issue


 

Reopening Public Schools Presents Many Challenges

Keeping up with the constantly evolving information related to Covid-19 can be a frustrating exercise.  Schools have been longing for direction in how to successfully reopen and the most common advice is to refer to CDC and state/federal guidelines. The challenge is that these are guidelines and not playbooks. Guidelines are generic in nature to allow local entities to build a framework around the essentials. It is up to individual school districts to develop operations plans that best suit their communities. Trident’s risk management consultants have been fielding many inquiries on the subject and unfortunately there is no proper response to blanket all possibilities.  We are here to help, however, with specific questions regarding an individual school’s reopening. 

As we are now in August, school districts should have a plan in place. This plan must be able to expand and contract with the current pandemic impact to your community.  Every school’s plan should consider the local infection and transmission rates and those of communities within a 25-mile radius. Rural districts in states with low Covid numbers should look differently about reopening than urban districts in states with high Covid cases.

Remote learning remains the best option for clear risk avoidance. But, we have seen some negatives associated with this type of schooling such as students tuning out, lack of social interaction with peers, and so on. If you decide to return to onsite schooling below are some considerations:

  • Have you surveyed students and parents about their willingness to return to in-school instruction?
  • Have you determined alternate transportation schedules and procedures?
  • Have you planned your school lunch distribution process?
  • Have you planned how to safety provide recess and physical education?
  • Have you incorporated a student education program related to communicable diseases?

These are among the many items that should be part of your plan. Remember, a plan is never fully complete. Be flexible and allow for adjustments along the way.  Our consultants are here to help you and to provide another set of eyes to your plans.  We can also assist you in providing student or staff training.  Here’s to a successful reopening!


 

Preparing for Hurricane Season Amid Pandemic

As many schools are preparing to reopen next month, we have rapidly entered storm season with several tropical storms and a hurricane under our belt.  Local governments will be called upon when storms bear down on communities and the public will rely on your services more than ever this year.  These are difficult times, but mother nature will continue to operate with business as usual when it comes to weather so now is the time to take precautions and prepare.  Here are some tips to consider while preparing for storm season during the pandemic.

Review and Update Your Emergency Preparedness Plan.  With many employees still working from home and resources directed towards addressing the pandemic, your preparedness plan may need to be revised.  Your plan should reflect local public health requirements which could change throughout storm season during the Covid pandemic.  This could include physical changes to your plan such as your shelter accommodations, the addition of face shield and face mask modifications to your personal protective equipment supply, additional sanitary considerations such as hand sanitizer stations and hand washing stations.  It could include administrative and operational changes such as having virtual coordination meetings with your staff and vendors.  Be sure to check in with any vendors that you may have arrangements with to make sure they are still capable of meeting your needs.  Ensure that your food, water, medications and supply options are still intact as it may take longer for deliveries.  Determine how you will accommodate those who are Covid positive but not sick enough to be hospitalized.  Consider hotel or additional lodging options in order to keep those Covid positive patients separated. 

Another primary concern will be the effectiveness of technology (internet and communication) capabilities during your response.  Ensure that your radio communications are operational, your generators are tested and fueled.  Consider that you may need to conduct virtual welfare checks with residents and staff and that you have systems in place to do so.  Make sure you have procedures and communications backed up to a cloud should your primary network go down.  It will also be imperative to call upon the pubic to report any damage and safety concerns to help coordinate resources.  Use your social media outlets to request them to do so with specific locations and photos.

In addition to the challenges posed by Covid during emergency response, it will still be necessary to plan ahead with all of the normal preparations for storm season such as tree trimming around buildings, securing loose equipment around your buildings, and inspecting your roof and making repairs as needed. Please click here for a Hurricane Preparedness Checklist.

These are unprecedented times with new challenges and obstacles but if you can take the time to plan now before the storm is headed your way, the more prepared you will be if it happens.


 

Understanding Contractual Risk Transfer

A classic line from the 1971 classic film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory spewed by the fast-talking, used car salesman, Sam Beauregarde is “Don't talk to me about contracts, Wonka, I use them myself. They're strictly for suckers.”  Sam’s statement couldn’t be further from the truth. Every reputable business in America uses contracts. A contract is more than an agreement, it is a binding agreement.  In other words, a contract is a promise for the breach of which the law gives remedy. Contracts can also be effective risk transfer tools. Services outside of an organization’s risk tolerance should be contracted out, thus giving the service provider the obligation to perform the service for you.  Contracts should clearly define responsibilities and include appropriate indemnification language (including certificates of insurance and additional insured endorsements.  Check out Trident’s resources on contracts here.

PRIMA Central is sponsoring an informational webinar on contracts called Don't Pay Twice on September 3rd 12pm – 1pm ET.This free session will cover the nuances and interaction between insurance, indemnification, and limitation of liability clauses and their impact.  You will leave able to immediately identify red flags, language that is preferred or to be avoided, insurance provisions and, just as importantly, have solutions to deal with them.  To register for this training visit https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/2935431472490043915.


 

Congratulations to Trident University’s Top Users

Trident’s Risk Control Team would like to recognize the top five users of Trident University, Trident’s online training platform to date in 2020.

  • #5 City of Biddeford, Maine
  • #4 Town of Abington, Massachusetts
  • #3 Village of Lindenhust, Illinois
  • #2 City of el Campo, Texas

    and the local entity with the most usage…

  • #1 Ysleta Independent School District, Texas

Congratulations to these communities for their commitment to employee training and education. Thank you for your continued use of our online learning tool.


 

Free Timely & Relevant Police Courses Available

Trident University is packed with full-length courses for police departments. These courses have been developed by our friends at Lexipol. A few topics that are timely today include, Ethics in Law Enforcement (1 hour); Ambush Awareness & Preparation (1 hour); Responding to People with Mental Illness (2 hours); Arrest, Search & Seizure (2 hours); and Community Policing (2 hours).  Departments can upload their policies into the system for officers to review and acknowledge as part of the course.   If you are interested in becoming a local administrator for your department, or just register to use the program, please contact us at asktheriskmanager@tridentpublicrisk.com.


 

Did you Know?

The first Fire Department was created by Benjamin Franklin in 1736 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was called “Union Fire Company.”  In colonial America, laws required each house to have a bucket of water on the front stoop in preparation for fires at night. These buckets were intended for use by the initial bucket brigade that would supply the water at fires.  America’s first fire insurance company called “Philadelphia Contributionship” was also co-founded by Ben Franklin in 1752.