This information outlines some of the key elements of the school district’s state of preparedness. It is our hope that this information answers the questions you have concerning the actions and intentions with regard to your children while they are in school or traveling to or from school.
When an emergency occurs at school, what should parents do?
- Tune in to the radio or television stations. Parents will be kept informed through the radio and television stations.
- Be accessible by remaining at the emergency phone numbers you provided to the school.
- Do not call the school in emergency situations so that phone lines can remain open for emergency communication.
- Understand that if an emergency is declared, access to the school campus may be restricted. Do not remove your child from a school campus without signing them out.
- Children will only be released to an adult listed on the Emergency Card.
Before an emergency occurs, how can parents help?
- Make sure your child’s emergency information is correct. If there is any change in a student’s name, home address, mailing address, telephone number, or emergency contact numbers, please update this information immediately in Skyward Family Access. We need to maintain accurate records so that we can ensure appropriate communication with parents/guardians. Only people listed on the emergency list are allowed to pick up children from school.
- Encourage your child to carry an I.D. Card at all times.
- Let children know that if an emergency occurs while they are in school, their teacher will provide them with appropriate instructions.
- Keep the school nurse informed of a child’s medical condition and provide emergency medical supplies and medication.
- Keep alert to activity around the schools and on school grounds. Report any suspicious activities.
Communication during an Emergency
The school district has a Public Information Officer who is designated to meet / talk with the media. All District 123 media communication will flow through this designated individual to prevent miscommunication or inaccurate information from being released.
The Crisis Communication section within the district Emergency Operations Plan provides the necessary guidance for school district representatives to effectively deal with the media during an emergency.
The Superintendent of Schools has assigned, in advance, a staff member as the liaison / information specialist to work with the parents / spouses during a crisis. This individual assigned to this duty will assume responsibility for arranging the details and providing accurate, up to date information regarding the incident.
School Delay / Closures / Early Dismissals
Announcements will be made usually by 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. over the radio and television stations. If the announcement is a delay, please continue to listen as it may become a cancellation.
Things you can do:
- Listen to radio or television stations for school closures or emergency dismissals.
- Do not call the school, District Office, radio or television station.
- Talk to your child about what procedures to follow. Tell them what to do if they come home early and you are not there. Make arrangements with neighbors or give your child a number to call so they can check in.
Emergency Communication & Notification
- WGN 720 AM
- WBBM 780 AM
- WGN Ch. 9
- FOX Ch. 32
- ABC Ch. 7
- CBS Ch. 2
- NBC Ch. 5
What can you expect schools to do in an emergency?
- Staff will immediately account for and attend to the needs of every child.
- Any children who are injured will be given medical treatment as soon as possible.
- Children will be kept in the safest location on the school grounds until they can be reunited with their families.
The school district will:
- Instruct students and staff in emergency preparedness and in emergency procedures designed to maximize safety in an emergency situation.
- Prepare personnel to respond to an emergency according to predetermined procedures designed to prevent injuries, minimize property losses, and provide appropriate response and support when necessary.
- Communicate with students’ families about emergency preparedness measures to assist them in protecting themselves and their property.
- Communicate with parents about the school emergency management procedures so school and home can work cooperatively in the best interest of students.
Depending on the nature of the incident, the school will implement one of the following protective actions:
Evacuation – if it is unsafe for students and staff to remain inside the building, we will evacuate. If necessary, we will relocate students and staff to another safe location. We then will follow the directions given by local emergency agencies (i.e. fire or police).
Lockdown – A “lockdown” is a protective action employed to safeguard everyone when there is an imminent threat approaching the school, on school grounds, or in the school. A “lockdown” announcement is made and all staff and students seek immediate cover in a locked room. All school activities cease and 911 is called. All staff and students remain in “lockdown” until released by the police or an “all clear” announcement is made by school personnel.
Shelter-in-Place – A “shelter-in-place” event occurs when there is a threat in the vicinity of the school. This may be a hazardous material spill, severe weather or police action in the area. In order to ensure the safety and health of students, the school is secured and visitors are closely scrutinized or not allowed in the school at all depending on the event. Activities inside the school continue.
After an Emergency, Release of Students to Parent / Guardian
Parents are allowed to pick up their children unless public safety officials restrict facility access. During any emergency, school personnel will maintain as safe and normal environment for children with the school as is possible. School is not automatically canceled in emergency situations. Remember, school may be the safest place for children to be.
If you are told to pick up your child, report to the student release station at the designated relocation area.
Student Release Station
When you arrive at the Student Release Station, you or your designated trusted adult will be asked to complete a Student Release form with the following information:
- Name of child or children being picked up
- Your name with a photo I.D.
- Relationship to the child
- Your destination
Current valid identification with a photograph is needed when a parent or trusted adult signs for your child.
Visitors to School Property
To minimize disruptions of the learning environment and educational process, as well as for the safety and security of all our students and staff members, all visits must be arranged through the school office. When you visit the school, you must first go to the main office to sign in and get a Visitor’s Pass. When a student needs to be dismissed early (usually for medical or emergency reasons) they must be signed out. The student will be called down to the office to be signed out. At no time should any visitor go directly to any classroom without first registering in the office and receiving a Visitor Pass. These procedures help ensure safety for all.
Frequently asked questions:
Q: What support services will the school system provide if an incident occurs?
If an incident occurs, a Crisis Response Team will be sent to the school to help students and staff cope with the emotional impact of the crisis. The Crisis Response Team consists of counselors, school nurses, social workers, and school psychologists who have received specialized training.
Q: Are there evacuation plans for students with Disabilities?
Your district has developed evacuation procedures specific to your child’s needs.
Q: How can school system resources support the community during a crisis?
In cooperation with the American Red Cross, school facilities are available to be used as emergency shelters.
Q: With whom may I speak to obtain more information about school safety?
Contact a school administrator for additional information about the safety plans for your child’s school.
Additional Emergency Management Information may be obtained from the following websites:
- www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/recovering/index.html www.fema.gov/regions/