Student Safety

Risk Management

For 25 years, The Island School has offered life-changing educational programs and conducted innovative scientific research, all from our campus in South Eleuthera. The island of Eleuthera lies approximately 60 miles east of Nassau and 250 miles east of Miami, Florida. This remote location in the Atlantic Ocean supports the mission and vision of The Island School by focusing on a central question: how do we live well in a place?

Just as our remote location guides how we facilitate the student experience and our educational outcomes, it also shapes how we think about and approach risk management at The Island School. Like all remote and wilderness-based programming, risk is inherent to the location that we operate. Resources on Eleuthera are limited, and the closest hospital is a plane ride away. For that reason, in our programs, our research, and in our day-to-day work we strive to bring awareness to where we are operating, and in turn, to the importance of sound judgment, deliberate decision making, and taking care of ourselves and each other. This is a central focus of our training for staff as well as our training and educational experiences for students.

The Island School does not seek to eliminate all risks from its activities; nor do we seek risk for its own sake. Rather, we believe in the educational value of taking responsible, mission-aligned risks, and we accept risk as an essential part of the learning process and of the environments in which we operate. Below are some of the measures we are committed to in order to identify and manage the risks that we do choose to take in pursuit of transformational educational outcomes and innovative research:

  • On-site Medical Professionals: our on-site Wellness Center is staffed by medical professionals that serve the day-to-day physical health needs of our students and immediate community. Our emergency medical professionals also play a critical role in our overall Crisis Response Plan.
  • Local Partnerships: for ongoing medical issues or additional procedures (lab work, x-rays, etc.), we also work with doctors in Rock Sound and Palmetto Point, located 30 and 60 minutes respectively, from our campus.
  • Mental Health Support: our full-time School Counselor serves to support the mental health needs of our students, sometimes directly and sometimes through referring them to other services. In addition, some of our residential students choose to continue virtually seeing a therapist from home during their Island School experience.
  • Wilderness Medical Training: all staff that facilitate student experiences far from campus, especially overnight trips, are required to hold a current WAFA or WFR certification or higher.
  • Staff Training: staff training and ongoing professional development are a regular part of preparing our staff to serve our students, not just at the beginning of the academic year, but throughout the year as well.
  • Crisis Response Team: with limited emergency resources available on the island, The Island School relies on our own team of trained staff. This team of experienced leaders works together to coordinate a response in the event of an emergency on campus or elsewhere on the island. The team is also responsible for coordinating evacuations to Nassau or the US if necessary.
  • Hurricane Preparedness Team: this team of managers and directors is responsible for hurricane preparedness, response, communication, and education. They coordinate campus preparations at the beginning of each season for the possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane. They are also responsible for making decisions about sheltering or evacuation in the event of a significant storm.
  • Equity and Belonging: we strive to align our approach to equity and belonging with our risk management strategies in order to create inclusive programs that allow for both physical and emotional safety