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Top 10 security considerations for K-12 and higher education organizations

Credit, Political Risk and Terrorism

By Nicholas A. Smith Jr., CPP | April 12, 2021

Security risks and threats uniquely impact schools, colleges and universities. Risk managers must have an understanding of these security considerations.

Schools, colleges and universities must address a variety of needs across many areas of physical security. Security considerations impact traditional campuses as well as online/remote models of instruction. Administrators seek to keep students safe while securely facilitating learning. As you give thought to your protective mandates, keep in mind that you should strive to protect not only people and property, but brand and reputation, as well. Good security at your organization is everyone’s responsibility; it is important to understand how to deter, identify and respond to any security risks or threats.

As you begin defining your place of learning’s unique security considerations, we suggest prioritizing the following top 10 components:

  1. Emergency preparedness and response
  2. Workplace violence and active assailant prevention and response
  3. Campus perimeter security
  4. School buildings/dormitories/residence halls access control
    • Admittance protocols and procedures
    • Visitor screening and escort
    • Infectious disease protocols
  5. Electronic automated access control systems; intrusion detection systems; video surveillance system design and administration
  6. Special events and sports security
  7. Personal security awareness training for staff
  8. School security or police resource/campus police
  9. Garage and parking lot security
  10. Legislative and benchmarking considerations

K-12 and higher education and academic institutions must have robust processes in place to monitor and adhere to security protocols. Willis Towers Watson recommends engaging experts to assess your existing security risk posture as you seek to reduce potential exposures. It is important to demonstrate to stakeholders and regulators that you have made reasonable efforts to maintain a safe and secure climate for students and for the conduct of school/higher education activities and operations.

Willis Towers Watson hopes you found the general information provided in this publication informative and helpful. The information contained herein is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice and should not be relied upon in lieu of consultation with your own legal advisors. In the event you would like more information regarding your insurance coverage, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. In North America, Willis Towers Watson offers insurance products through licensed subsidiaries of Willis North America Inc., including Willis Towers Watson Northeast Inc. (in the United States) and Willis Canada, Inc.


Security Consulting Practice Leader
Risk Control and Claim Advocacy practice
Willis Towers Watson

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