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Students conducting an evacuation drill. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Educators across the country are trying to find ways to prepare their students for school shootings without terrifying them.

The big picture: Though school shootings aren't occurring as frequently as they have in the past, they are deadlier than ever before. With that in mind, schools are taking new precautions to keep their students safe, including new security systems, policies and drills.

The state of play: Educators in Tampa Bay say things are still a work in progress, writes Megan Reeves for the Tampa Bay Times. Explaining these things to children, especially younger ones, can be especially difficult.

  • Officials in different school districts are currently figuring out how to deliver the message in an effective, yet sensitive way, Reeves writes.

According to deputy superintendent Clint Herbic, all teachers in Pinellas, Florida will soon get direction from the district on how to explain active shooter situations to students.

  • Teachers in Pinellas are receiving direction in how to present safety information to students according to grade level.
  • Materials are provided in two colorful forms — one for pre-kindergarten through 5th grade and another for 6th through 12th grade.

Next steps: Teachers are instructed to explain the procedures by telling students that the adults at school "work hard to keep school safe" and to use the word "safety" rather than active assailant.

  • The National Association of School Psychologists recommends that teachers validate students' feelings of being safe rather than create scenarios of anxiety.
  • The younger students, the simpler the explanation should be, the recommendations state. As they get older, the school can be more forthright in answering their questions.

Go deeper

Senate Democrats reach deal on extending unemployment insurance

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Senate Democrats struck a deal Friday evening to extend unemployment insurance in President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package after deliberating and halting other action for roughly nine hours, per a Senate aide.

Why it matters: The Senate can now resume voting on other amendments to the broader rescue bill.

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

Financial fallout from the Texas deep freeze

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Texas has thawed out after an Arctic freeze last month threw the state into a power crisis. But the financial turmoil from power grid shock is just starting to take shape.

Why it matters: In total, electricity companies are billions of dollars short on the post-storm payments they now owe to the state's grid operator. There's no clear path for how they will pay — something being watched closely across the country as extreme weather events become more common.