School Emergency Response Drills
Dr. Kathryn Strevell
Dr. Aspasia Angelou
The safety and security of all NUSD students and staff is a top priority. All district staff members receive training in emergency response.
What is an emergency?
An emergency is a sudden, unexpected, or dangerous situation that requires immediate action. The response to any situation depends on the potential impact it may have on the people or facilities involved. When parents hear news of a situation at a school, their first reaction may be to rush to the site to pick up their child. We understand that reaction, however, when numerous parents arrive at the same time, growing demands on access to the school and students can negatively impact the access or response from law enforcement and supporting agencies. NUSD will communicate as frequently as possible with parents to keep them informed during an emergency situation. Here are some tips for parents when an emergency occurs on or near an NUSD campus.
Check email or texts for updated information.
In case of an off-site evacuation, wait for communication from the school or district to which location your child’s campus will evacuate.
In accordance with Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS), 15-341 (A) (32), NUSD school’s emergency response plans have been developed by school and district teams to ensure that all schools meet emergency response preparedness guidelines established by the Arizona Department of Education, and the Arizona Division of Emergency Management. Emergency response plans have been reviewed by local police and fire officials, and in addition, campuses hold regular fire, lockdown, and shelter-in-place drills.
In the event of an emergency, the action and appropriate direction will be initiated by the school. Please take a moment to review the actions listed below. Students and staff will be trained and the school will practice these actions through drills over the course of the school year.
We encourage all parents/guardians to speak with their children about what to do in the event of an emergency or safety situation. This should include the best way to communicate and who or where to meet in the event that an incident occurs before or after school, or as they are going to or coming from school.
Doors Locked, Voices Off, Out of Sight
A Lockdown is initiated when there may be an immediate threat or hazard near or on the school campus. Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms, sit away from the sight line of the doors or windows, and doors and windows are locked and covered. Classroom activities cease until the incident concludes. The office will be closed and phones will not be answered.
STUDENTS: Move away from sight, maintain silence, and listen to directions from the teacher or staff.
TEACHERS: Ensure all interior doors are locked, cover windows, and maintain silence. Ensure no movement inside & outside of buildings. Move away from sight and secure ALL persons in a room (including office staff and security personnel). Maintain calm and quiet.
A Modified Lockdown is initiated when there may be a danger outside of the buildings or off campus.
Students and staff are moved (or remain) in classrooms and perimeter doors remain locked, including the front office. Classroom instruction continues as normal, and necessary movement can occur within a building.
Law enforcement will typically notify the administration when the All Clear can be given.
STUDENTS: If outside, return to the classroom Listen to directions from the teacher or staff
TEACHERS If outside, all students and staff return to classrooms Increased situational awareness Instruction as usual Take attendance and account for students
An Evacuation is initiated when there are conditions inside the school building that could be unsafe, such as no water, no electricity, or fire. It might apply to the entire campus or to individual campus buildings. Students and staff evacuate the buildings to an outside location and assemble at predetermined locations. An off-site evacuation may be necessary depending on the incident. School district officials will coordinate the bussing of students to an off-campus location.
Information on student reunification will be sent out by the district's automated phone, text, or email system.
STUDENTS: Leave your belongings behind, form a single file line while quietly evacuating, listen to directions from the teacher or staff, and be prepared for alternatives during response.
TEACHERS: Take class roster sheets and emergency buckets, lead students to designated assembly areas, take attendance, and account for students.
Shelter in Place
A Shelter in Place is initiated when students and staff need to be inside the building for safety, protection from dangers outside of the building, or for unsafe conditions in the immediate vicinity of the school, such as weather, flood, fire, or police presence in the neighborhood, etc. It may also be initiated when there is an unsafe situation in an isolated area of the campus and movement needs to be controlled until the situation has been resolved. During Shelter in Place, students and staff are moved (or remain) in their classrooms and normal classroom activities continue until the incident concludes. Necessary movement can occur within a building, and the front office is unlocked and open for anyone seeking shelter.
STUDENTS: If outside, return to the classroom Listen to directions from the teacher or staff
TEACHERS: If outside, all students and staff return to classrooms with increased situational awareness, and instruction, as usual, take attendance and account for students.
There are a number of different circumstances or emergency situations that could cause the district to evacuate students or release them earlier or later than normal: severe weather and flooding, power or water outage, hazardous materials, or a crisis near or at the school. In situations like these, it may be necessary for families to come to pick up their students in a formalized, controlled release, with the local fire department, law enforcement agencies, and district all working together. This is called reunification.
We are dedicated to keeping our students safe and secure. Please understand that there may be times during an emergency when we will need to shelter our students in safe places within their school or move them to an alternative location if the school must be evacuated. It is our goal to reunify our students with their parents as soon as it is safe to do so. Emergency first responders will help us make a decision when it is safe to reunify students and parents.
A Safety Update is communicated to inform campus communities about issues near or at school sites. These issues do not rise to an emergency response level but do require community knowledge. NUSD will continue to update the community as additional information is available.
Reuniting With Your Child After An Emergency
To provide for a safe and secure controlled release of students to their parents or other emergency contacts, we will set up a parent and student reunification process. Depending on the situation, this process may be at your child’s school or at a safe alternative location. Do not go to the school or alternative location until notified.
Reunification can be a time-consuming process. Please be patient with us as we assure the safety of all students and staff during a controlled release process. Please keep the school informed of any changes to your child’s emergency contact information.
- Parents will be notified when and if a parent and student reunification process is necessary, through auto dialer, text messaging, social media, and our School District website.
- Please keep the school informed of any changes in your personal or work contact information.
- Students will be released ONLY to a parent or emergency contacted listed in our Student Information System.
- Parents or authorized emergency contacts will need a government issued photo ID to present at the parent request gate.
For more information about how your school prepares for emergency response, please contact the school principal.
Emergency Response Overview
What happens during an emergency?
School administrators, along with support from the district office and city/county agencies, will evaluate the incident and initiate the appropriate response to either evacuate outside or away from buildings, or secure the campus in lockdown, modified lockdown, or shelter in place. School personnel works closely with public safety officials during emergencies.
- If such an emergency occurs, the school will begin a controlled release dismissal, in which students will be released only to an adult who has been identified as a parent, guardian, or emergency contact. Please be patient, this process can take time, sometimes hours.
- The school district is prepared to provide food, water, and the medications listed on your child’s Medication Administration Release form to the child if we are directed to hold students on campus.
Students may be relocated off campus.
An emergency situation may require students to be relocated to a location different from their home school. Updated information sent by telephone auto dialer, email, and text messaging will apprise parents of the reunification site details.
What to do if your child is kept on campus during an emergency.
- To keep phone lines free for emergency use, PLEASE DO NOT CALL THE SCHOOL. We understand and respect your concern for your child, yet it is essential that the telephone system be available for emergency communications. Additionally, if our school is in lockdown, staff members will NOT be available to answer the phone as they will be working hard to protect your children and themselves from the threat. Information will be provided on the school website and social media outlets, as well as by telephone auto-dialers, email, and text message through the Parent Portal. This will include information on when and where to pick up your child.
- Do not come to the school unless instructed to do so. We realize how difficult it will be for you to keep your distance from the school, but it will be crucial to keep the surrounding streets and parking lots clear for emergency vehicles.
- If you speak with or text your child on a cell phone, please remind them of the importance of following the directions of staff members and public safety officials.
To report information regarding threats, rumors, criminal activity, etc. you can call your school leaders.