We are preparing for a previously scheduled drill next week on March 20 that has been on our calendar since earlier this year. It should be noted that we considered postponing this drill out of consideration of current events taking place in the United States. Some of you may be aware that some activities in the High School included the signing of a flag of condolence for the loss of life in Florida just one month ago. While only a percentage of our student body is connected by citizenship to the issues surrounding the current debate, we are sensitive to the media coverage and the sense that all students may be both aware and have feelings associated with these events in their home country. Despite this, we feel it is important to keep with our established schedule, mindful that there is never a perfect time for emergency drills or practice associated with safety.
To be clear, we practice, similar to our fire evacuation, a protocol that is called a “LockDown” drill. In response to an intruder in the vicinity of the school or in the case of an intruder entering the building, we have procedures for urgently locking all classrooms to restrict access to students and staff in that area and move into what is referred to as “Shelter in Place.” Teachers quickly check hallways and bring any moving students in their vicinity into their classrooms, lock their doors, block windows, and begin attendance with the students and adults present. Students are kept in this setting until an “All Clear” signal is announced.
As with all of our drills, the intent is not to inspire fear, but to practice our preparedness for any potential situation. Students and staff need to be generally familiar with all of these types of drills to assure student safety and readiness. We learn from each drill with an after action report process and our School Health & Safety Committee regularly meets to discuss and recommends improvements.
If you are a parent and are in the school during this drill, you need to be prepared to follow directions of security guards and/or staff members as they direct you to safe haven. You’ll be required to participate in the drill until the “All Clear” is announced. Also be reminded that there will be no vehicle access to the campus during the drill and the main entrance will be closed and locked. We expect the duration of the drill to be about 20-30 minutes. We will not be sending an emergency text message during this drill, but will test the system again at a future date. Happy to answer questions as needed!