There are a number of incidents that can occur on a school campus, or district facility, that can put students and staff in harms way. Each of our school sites, as required by Education Code, has a comprehensive school site safety plan. Each year the plan is reviewed and updated by the school site council on or before March 1. The plans are accessible in each school office and are provided in digital format on the district's website. It is important to note we have tactical emergency plans at each school that are confidential. Those plans include our response protocols, maps of the schools, key shut off valves, student information and much more. We do not want this information being used by someone posing a threat to our schools.
Drills are part of preparing for a variety of potential school situations. Education Code mandates the district have both fire drills and earthquakes drills (see below). The most important element for our drills is preparing staff to exercise sound judgment to keep students as safe as possible in an emergency. All responses begin with three key elements: Observe, Think, Act. Local police and fire departments sometimes assist the schools with their drills so they may also train on dealing with campus emergencies. All drills are taken very seriously - it is important that students fully participate and follow all instructions given to them by adult staff or public safety personnel.
Fire Alarm and Fire Drills - Education Code 32001
Every public, private, or parochial school building having an occupant capacity of 50 or more pupils or students or more than one classroom shall be provided with a dependable and operative fire alarm system. Every person and public officer managing, controlling, or in charge of any public, private, or parochial school shall cause the fire alarm signal to be sounded upon the discovery of fire, unless the school is equipped with an automatic fire detection, and alarm system, which may include, but for the purposes of this section is not required to include, a sprinkler system, as described in Section 17074.52. Every person and public officer managing, controlling, or in charge of any public, private, or parochial school, other than a two-year community college, shall cause the fire alarm signal to be sounded not less than once every calendar month and shall conduct a fire drill at least once every calendar month at the elementary level and at least four times every school year at the intermediate levels. A fire drill shall be held at the secondary level not less than twice every school year.
Earthquake - Education Code 32282
A drop procedure whereby each pupil and staff member takes cover under a table or desk, dropping to his or her knees, with the head protected by the arms, and the back to the windows. A drop procedure practice shall be held at least once each school quarter in elementary schools and at least once a semester in secondary schools.
No single response fits all potential incidents; however, making sure each individual knows his or her options for response and can react decisively will save valuable time. Depicting scenarios and considering response options in advance will assist individuals and groups in quickly selecting their best course of action. Understandably, this is a sensitive topic. There is no single answer for what to do, but a survival mindset can increase the odds of surviving in a life threatening situation. Our staff have been trained using the options-based protocols developed by San Diego County Office of Education. Key to the protocols are responding with immediacy when required by observing, thinking and acting. School personnel’s top priority is to give clear instructions to students to keep them safe. Students - Follow the instructions of school staff. Parents - Your student's safety is our number one priority. We will communicate with you through our messaging platform, please ensure you maintain updated contact information. Please follow all of the instruction given. Please avoid excessive phone calls, as they may interfere with essential emergency communication. Do not attempt to pick up a student during an incident unless directed to do so. If required following an incident the school will initiate a reunification procedure. For response effort to be successful, it is vital that parents remain patient and cooperate with the school and emergency personnel during an emergency situation.