Keywords: disaster preparation, disaster response, emergency response, emergency online schools, online mental health, online learning, school closures, e–learning, electronic learning, recovery support, emergency management, resource allocation, emergency education
Emergency online schools as a means of providing schooling and crisis support after school closings due to catastrophic disasters
Children are particularly vulnerable to disasters. As schools are an integral part of most communities, continuance of a school routine after a disaster is perceived by children as a sign of resiliency. Furthermore, schools also provide an avenue to supply recovery related support to children. However, contemporary crisis preparation models do not adequately address how children will continue their education and how educators and school mental health professionals will appropriately serve children when schools are destroyed after a disaster. One way to sustain school operations in the wake of disasters is through emergency online schools. Optimally, emergency online schools can offer immediate, sustained schooling and support services after a catastrophic disaster when the event makes it impossible for school buildings to operate. This paper examines the viability of and resources necessary for constructing and implementing emergency online schools with an eye toward broad socioeconomic and geographic application. Implications and future directions also are presented.