Dear Parents and Guardians:
The safety of all our children, school staff, and support personnel is very important to us. In order to maintain a safe environment for our school community, it is necessary that we practice our emergency and crisis response plans by having drills designed to exercise our procedures.
To assist our students and staff in understanding and knowing what to do in case of various emergencies, we will continue to practice a variety of safety drills this school year. Some of these drills are conducted monthly and some may only be conducted once or a few times during the year. We believe that by establishing, communicating, and then practicing the plans, we will be able to manage difficult situations more effectively. Some of the drills are announced to staff and students ahead of time, while others are not announced until the time that they will take place.
It is our hope that informing you about the primary types of emergency drills will assist you in being prepared to discuss these situations with your child if the topic arises at home.
A brief description of the major types of drills follows:
As required by the Pennsylvania School Code and the Fire Code, each school building will conduct a monthly fire drill. During a fire drill, students and staff evacuate the building when the fire alarm is activated and report to a predetermined site outside the building.
During an evacuation drill, students and staff will leave the building and will be safely escorted along a designated evacuation route to a pre-determined evacuation site. At the conclusion of the drill, everyone will safely return to their classrooms.
If your child rides the school bus, they will also be required to participate in two bus evacuation drills during the school year.
SAFETY SCENARIO DRILLS
During the safety scenario drills, staff and students stop their normal activities for approximately 10-15 minutes, at a specified day and time, to verbally review what actions would be taken based on a pre-determined emergency scenario. These drills are conducted to give staff and students time to discuss procedures and ask questions in a low-risk environment.
The purpose of these drills is to keep staff and students safe from any danger outside or inside the buildings by limiting movement. Based on the situation, these drills could range from a “keep out,” where a threat outside of the building requires the denial of individuals into the building; to a “stay put,” where staff and students must remain in their classrooms due to a medical emergency or locker search; to a “lock down,” where protective actions need to be taken due to an imminent threat to those in and around the building.
SEVERE WEATHER DRILLS
The purpose of the severe weather drill is to prepare staff and students to move to a safe location within the building in case of a severe weather event, such as a storm with hurricane-like winds.
District staff have prepared a School Emergency Guide for Parents that contains additional information about our safety procedures and guidelines to follow in the event of an emergency. This guide can be found on the district website under Emergency Information. For everyone’s safety during both drills and true emergencies, it is crucial to follow the specific directions being given and to rely on official communications from the school district.
Please remember that these safety drills are conducted to practice procedures and gather feedback for improvement. Establishing and maintaining safety protocols help make our schools safe places to learn and work.
In the event of an emergency situation, it is imperative that we have up-to-date parent/guardian contact information, as well as emergency contact information, for your child. Please report any change of name, address, or telephone number to the main office of the building that your child attends.
If you have questions regarding these safety drills or other safety concerns, please contact your child’s school office.
Thank you for your cooperation.
Leslie A. Estep