During an emergency, our first priority is the safety of our students and staff. In order to provide an effective response to any school crisis, the division has developed an Emergency Response Plan. The plan works in conjunction with other local emergency plans since a school emergency could require the involvement of numerous agencies. The plans created for individual schools and the division plan are reviewed annually and after an emergency occurs.
For more information about our emergency preparedness plans, please review our School Emergency Response Plan - Guide for Parents and Guardians.
WHEN AN EMERGENCY OCCURS
Although your natural instinct in an emergency may be to go to the school to safeguard your child, doing so could impede the response to the situation. Extra vehicles and people at the site make the task more difficult. Follow the instructions provided to you through the school website and social media channels. Do not come to the school to pick up your child unless requested to do so.
If you arrive at the school in the midst of an emergency, please respect the protocol in progress. While the division understands personal circumstances or initial reactions might move you to do something contrary to the school's established procedures, schools cannot compromise the safety of students or staff to accommodate individual requests that could put others at risk.
Lock-Downs are used in response to acts or threats of violence to students and/or staff directly impacting the school. During a Lockdown, all doors to and within the school are locked. No one is permitted in or out of any area once it has been locked. Students and staff must respond very quickly to a Lockdown command to get to a safe location before doors are locked. No one other than law enforcement is permitted access to the building until the Lockdown is over.
HOLD AND SECURE
Hold, and Secure is used in response to security threats or criminal activity outside the school. During a Hold and Secure, all entrance doors to the school are locked, with no one permitted in or out of the building. No one other than law enforcement is permitted access to the building until the Hold and Secure has been cleared.
SHELTER IN PLACE
Generally, Shelter-in-Place is used during an environmental emergency, such as a severe storm or chemical spill. During Shelter-in-Place, students and staff retreat to safe zones to seek shelter. This includes having students or staff who are outdoors come back into the school. Each school’s emergency response plan identifies the safest location for building occupants. Students will not be released or dismissed until the situation has been resolved.
An Evacuation requires all students and staff to leave the school and go to an alternate location. This may mean only going outside and away from the building until it is safe to re-enter the school. In other cases, students and staff may need to go to an evacuation centre. Parents will be informed of the alternate location through the school’s usual phone and email distribution system.
CONTROLLED STUDENT RELEASE
Under some circumstances it may be determined that it is best to dismiss students to their homes and families as expeditiously as possible. Should this be the case, every attempt will be made to alert the emergency contact for each student of the situation and to ensure young students are not left unsupervised.
REUNITING WITH YOUR CHILD
Parents are asked to adhere to the parent-child reunification procedures listed below. Staff will work to ensure these procedures take place without delay. Understand the process will take some time, and we ask for your patience when you arrive at the designated parent-child reunification area.
Parents-Child Reunification Procedures:
1. A Parent-Child Reunion Area will be established. Parents are notified at the time of the emergency of the reunion area's location. The location may not be at the school - the location will depend on the specifics of the emergency.
2. Students will only be released to an individual designated as a legal guardian or emergency contact in the student's official registration information. Make sure to keep this information current with your school. as the school will only release a child to an authorized individual - no exceptions are made.
3. Valid identification is required to pick up your child. Requiring identification protects students from any unauthorized individuals attempting to pick them up. Even if school personnel know you, you must still present your ID as the school may receive assistance from other schools or agencies.
4. You will be required to fill out a Student Release Request Form. The form ensures all students are accounted for at all times, and students are only released to authorized individuals. Do not just take your child from the school or evacuation centre without signing for his or her release.
5. Once you have been reunited with your child, please leave the area immediately. Leaving immediately ensures your safety and that of your child.