May 27, 2022
Dear ECS Community:
In light of recent tragic mass shootings, we wanted to reach out regarding Emergency Protocols at ECS.
Please know that we still have to conduct two emergency drills before the end of the year, as well as a fire drill. We would also like to let you know that one of these drills will include a "go home early" drill. More information about that drill will be shared in a letter sent to parents in the near future. In addition to these drills being required by NYS, they are also VERY important for students and staff as they provide for practice and conversation about what to do should a true emergency ever take place at the school.
When conducting emergency drills, we will very clearly indicate they are drills to avoid creating undue anxiety. Please note that we typically do not send out robo-calls or make posts for drills unless there are unusual circumstances.
For your convenience, we would also like to review “The BIG 4 Emergency Protocols.” These four protocols are: Shelter in Place, Lockdown, Lockout, and Evacuation. We cannot share the exact steps we take in each of these protocols, as doing could compromise them, and ultimately our ability to best protect students. We can, however, provide a brief overview of each protocol so you are better informed.
• Shelter in Place: This is considered one of the least intrusive procedures. It is used to secure students safely in classes, and restrict movement in hallways and throughout the building. Examples of when this may be used include: a medical emergency in the building, overt disruption in hallway, or staging for possible transition to Lockout, Lockdown or Evacuation. A Shelter in Place not only secures students, it allows for time to assess a situation without taking too extreme a measure. During a Shelter in Place teachers and students may continue normal classroom activities behind closed and locked doors.
• Lockout: This is considered a mid-level procedure. It is used when an actual or potential threat exists from outside the school building (Ex. Escaped fugitive, unusual disturbance in the parking lot or road, disgruntled employee or spouse, etc.). During a Lockout, all outside activities are cancelled and the exterior doors and windows are closed and locked. Once the building is secure, we may decide to allow normal activities within the school.
• Evacuation: This can be considered a mid-level procedure or a high-level procedure based on the situation. Evacuating the building when a fire alarm sounds is something we have all learned do since we were little kids and is a straight forward procedure. When we need to evacuate and relocate to another location due to an imminent threat such as a bomb or chemical threat this is considered a high-level procedure. Please know that should we need to evacuate to another location, we will notify parents that we are doing so, but for safety reasons will not announce in advance where we are evacuating to.
• Lockdown: This is considered our highest alert! A Lockdown is used when an actual or imminent threat exists and we need to immediately secure students. Examples of when this may be used include: a trespasser with a weapon is on campus, there is a hostage situation, or there is a riot. In a lockdown, students and staff are not only secured behind locked doors, they are to be out of sight and silent.
Please note that we:
• May employ more than one procedure at a time.
• May transition from one procedure to another.
• Will modify or “flex” a procedure if it is necessary.
Our goal is to best ensure everyone's safety. Our Safety Committee will be reviewing and updating our Safety Plan as needed. As part of our capital project, we have installed new locks on all interior classroom doors and these are set to the lock position all day. If the classroom door is closed, it is locked. This system is currently up and running.
We are also re-testing all of our exterior doors to ensure they are locked throughout the day. In order for anyone (other than staff) to gain access to the building, they have to be buzzed in by one of the offices. The offices have cameras so they see the person before buzzing them in.
If at any point, you have questions about our safety protocols or have concerns to share, do not hesitate to reach out to the school. If you would like to e-mail me, my e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.