As a school district, the safety of our students and staff is always a top priority. That's why we have extensive emergency plans to prepare for and respond to any emergency we may face. We also understand that during a school emergency you'll be worried, so we want to assure you that in an emergency our first priority is to protect students and staff and after that we will do everything in our power to keep you informed.
Many of you have heard the terms 'lockdown' or 'hold and secure'. But what do they mean? We realize that there can be some confusion around the emergency terms the district uses, and confusion can heighten anxieties.
Here's a rundown of the emergency terms you might hear from us:
Anyone that has participated in earthquake drills is familiar with drop-cover-hold. We use this when there is potential danger from structural damage or flying debris.
Shelter-in-place is used when it is safer to be inside the school than outside and there is no threat of violence. This could be used in instances of severe weather, a bear or cougar on school grounds or a dangerous goods spill nearby.
Hold and Secure
Hold and secure is used when there is a threat or potential threat of violence usually outside the school. This could be called because police are responding to a situation near the school and want to ensure public safety or because a student or parent is agitated and has the potential to get physical. Depending on the needs of the situation, exterior doors and windows or locked, there is no outsider access to the building and movement may be limited to certain areas inside the school.
Tragically, because of school shootings lockdown is the term most people are familiar with. Lockdown is used when there is a threat of violence inside the school, such as an armed intruder or shooter. When a lockdown is called everyone retreats to their closest lockdown zone. Doors and windows are secured, and lights are turned off. Everyone remains quiet, silences their phones and stays out of sight. No one is allowed in or out of a lockdown zone until the doors are unlocked by emergency responders.
If your child's school is ever in a lockdown, please try to resist texting or calling your child. Using a phone during a lockdown can increase the risk for students and staff because the noise from notifications and even the light of the phone screen can alert an intruder to where people are hiding.
Information is only helpful if it's true. Trust that we have plans in place.
In an emergency, rely on the district as your first source for credible information. We will release information as soon as it's safe to do so and will be as transparent as possible. Please know though that we need to respect and protect the privacy of ALL district students and families. This means that if a situation involves a member of the school community, we will not identify them or provide specifics with regards to how an individual is dealt with.
Rumors are risky. Know the power in your posts.
When a school emergency occurs emotions run high, tweets and posts fly, and rumours grow. Steer clear of noise, rumours and false information, especially on social media, during an emergency. Participating in these types of posts can create more confusion and chaos, which no one wants!
The careless sharing of misinformation, rumours and suspicions, including the names of those potentially involved, can interfere with the response, lead to confusion and online harassment as well as jeopardize the safety of students and staff.
Know that when you're concerned, we're concerned.
Connect with us anytime you are confused or concerned by rumours or posts on social media about a school incident. By keeping an ongoing dialogue with your child's school, we can happily address your concerns and clear up confusion to the best of our ability.