Georgetown University received a half million-dollar grant from the Department of Education’s Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools this September. The grant is designed to assist the University in its emergency planning during the next eighteen months.
Department of Education guidelines restrict the grant money to areas such as training school safety teams and students, communicating emergency response policies to parents and guardians, and purchasing school safety equipment.
Georgetown plans to use its funds to review current emergency plans and conduct training exercises, according to Executive Director of University Safety Peter Luger. Some money will also go to graduate internships and the University’s emergency preparedness campaign, which Georgetown began prior to receiving the grant.
Luger said the grant will allow the University to further modify its plan for dealing with pandemics, especially H1N1 influenza.
“We’ve had a pandemic plan in place for several years now, since the global SARS outbreak,” Luger wrote in an e-mail. “The grant includes additional opportunities to review and update our plan as well as funds to carry out a pandemic plan exercise.”
Even though it does not receive funding from the University, Georgetown Hospital has been incorporated into Georgetown’s emergency planning.
“The University is an integral part of the hospital H1N1 task force,” said the Hospital’s Director of Media Relations Marianne Worley. “We have open lines of communication between the incident command structures. Our drills involve the University.”
Additionally, Georgetown will use the grant money to conduct training exercises, according to Luger.
“[The training exercises] will be geared to the entire emergency response team, emergency support team, and individual or groups of departments,” Luger said.
Luger said the specifics of the exercises are not predetermined in the grant and will be planned in the future.
Some grant money will also fund internships for graduate students who work with the University’s Emergency Response Team, according to Director of Emergency Management and Operational Continuity Whit Chaiyabhat. The internship program was originally an unpaid opportunity, but because of the grant, the program can now offer its interns pay.
The recruitment of interns will primarily be targeted toward Georgetown graduate students in security studies, health studies, and public policy.