Chapter 6: Planning for when a staff member has died
Supporting staff members after a death
“I took it very hard when Keith had his heart attack and then died two days later. We had worked together for 10 years and we had often supported and bounced ideas off each other. Now what? This was unbelievable and I was devasted”. – Teacher
When you learn of a staff member’s death, you should first communicate with their family. Once you have confirmed the cause of their death and the information to be shared know their wishes in regard to information-sharing, you should inform the rest of your staff and plan for how students and others in the broader school community will be informed. While all students will need to receive information and support regarding the death in a timely manner, additional support should be put in place for the students and staff who had direct contact or a particularly close relationship to the staff member who died.
Remember that other members of your staff are also impacted by these deaths. Give thought to what might be helpful to them as they grieve and as they provide support to students, both in the short- and longer term.
Click on the arrows to see some examples.
Maintain contact and offer support to any staff person who is the designated contact person for a bereaved family.
Check in with educators to see that they feel well supported with resources for supporting grieving students; and, if not, provide needed resources.
Remind your staff that grief is an ongoing process; and encourage them to continue to communicate their needs, as well as those of their students, so that you can ensure the availability of needed supports.
Explore whether staff would like to gather among themselves in some way to honour the person who died.