As I have noted in previous correspondence, the safety and security of our students and staff is a priority in our school district. Throughout the school year, our students and staff practice various safety procedures in our schools. Each practice is intended to ensure that everyone is prepared to respond appropriately should there be a crisis. Please view our District Wide Safety Plan here.
As you know, a crisis can take a number of forms. The type of crisis dictates the procedure our staff uses to address the situation. For this reason, I would also like to review some specific terms that are used to describe various procedures:
- Lockdown: During a Lockdown, students and staff move to predetermined locations within the classroom and other areas inside the school. This is with the intent of securing all from harm's way. Safety measures include students and staff moving to and remaining in safe locations, locking doors and windows, turning off lights, and other predetermined precautions.
- Lockout: A Lockout is used when the possibility of an exterior threat has been identified and it has been determined that students should remain in a school building that effectively "locks out" visitors. In that event, all exterior doors are locked to prevent anyone from entering the building, and classrooms and corridors are checked.
- Shelter-in-Place: This procedure is similar to a Lockout. When students and staff are advised to Shelter-in-Place, they remain secured inside a classroom or other pre-determined secure area in the school. Shelter-in-Place may be used following a Lockdown or during other emergencies. This is a precaution aimed at keeping students and staff safe while they remain indoors.
- Evacuations: Decisions to evacuate a school building will be made by school officials and law enforcement if it is determined that the school environment has become unsafe. If an evacuation is called, students will be moved to exterior school grounds or to a pre-determined off-site location, or dismissed from school early.
During any of the above, staff and students are required to stand by for communications from the school administration before ending a Lockdown, Lockout, Shelter-in-Place, or Evacuation. During a Lockdown, police and other emergency responders are likely to be inside the school building to investigate a potential threat.
It is important to note that parents/guardians play an important role at a time of a school emergency. While it may be a first instinct to report to your child's school, this could potentially cause more harm and stress on the system. Please help us and cooperate in the following ways:
- Provide your child's school with your most updated contact information, including information about back-up contacts
- Stand by for communications from the school/district administration
- Subscribe to the District's O-Blast to receive information and updates during emergency situations via your e-mail address
- Monitor emergency information updates via our Connect Ed messages, the District's O-Blast, and website postings
- Subscribe to the police department's Nixle website, which provides real-time updates during emergencies, based on your zip code.
- Discuss the purpose of Lockdown, Lockout, and Shelter-in-Place drills with your child
- Do not call your child's school during emergencies as our phone lines should be kept as open as possible.
- Do not report to your child's school during emergency situations. Law enforcement officials are likely to have jurisdiction during an emergency, and they and district staff will not allow you to enter a school during some emergencies.
As appropriate and as needed, social-emotional supports will be arranged at our schools following an event.
For helpful information about safety and security in schools, visit the following websites:
I do hope you find the information noted helpful to you and your family. As always, we are committed to making sure your child is safe.