Response to Emergencies

DrillThe safety and security of all Arlington Public School students and staff is our highest priority.

What should parents and guardians do in the case of a school emergency?
An emergency is a sudden, unexpected, or dangerous situation that requires immediate action.

When parents or guardians hear of a situation at a school, their first reaction may be to rush to the school to pick up their child. Please do not come to the school during an emergency. Doing so can severely impede the access and assistance of first responder agencies aiding the school. In an emergency, the district will quickly communicate out to parents with updates on the situation and instructions for families. Please be sure your contact information in Skyward is updated and current.

How do we train for emergencies at school?
We all share the responsibility of preparing our young people on how to react safely in an emergency. While the response to a situation depends on the potential impact it may have on the people or facilities involved, students and staff are trained in response protocols. The following response protocols are practiced throughout the school year.

Hold: In Your Room or Area, Clear the Halls

A “Hold” is used when there is a situation that is not a security issue for which the resolution can be expedited by temporarily holding students and staff inside their classrooms or office areas.

Staff and student response: remain in classroom or work areas (inside or outside), even if there is a scheduled class change, until all clear is announced.

Lockout-Secure the Perimeter

A Lockout occurs when there may be a danger outside of the buildings or off campus but nearby. Students and staff move to or remain in classrooms. All exterior doors remain locked. Classroom instruction continues as normal, and necessary movement can occur within a building. Law enforcement will typically notify administration when the lockout can end.

Student response during lockout:
• If outside, return to classroom
• Listen to directions from teacher or staff
• Do not post on social media

Staff response during lockout:
• If outside, all students and staff return to classrooms
• Instruction as usual
• Take attendance and account for students
• Do not post on social media

Lockdown- Locks, Lights, Out of Sight

A Lockdown occurs when there may be an immediate threat or hazard near or on the school campus. Students and staff are moved to or remain in classrooms, sit away from sight line of the doors or windows, and doors and windows are locked and covered. Exterior doors are locked. Classroom activities cease until the incident concludes. The school office will be closed and phones will not be answered.

Student response during lockdown:
• Move away from sight
• Maintain silence
• Listen to directions from teacher or staff
• Maintain silence, turn off cell phones
• Do not post on social media

Staff response during lockdown:
• Secure ALL persons inside rooms with locking doors (including staff)
• Lock all interior doors
• Cover windows and door view panel, maintain silence
• Do not post on social medial

Evacuate to a Safe Location

An evacuation occurs when there are conditions inside the school building that could be unsafe, such as fire or earthquake. It might apply to the entire campus or to individual campus buildings. Students and staff evacuate their building and assemble at predetermined locations. An off-site evacuation may be necessary depending on the incident. School district officials will coordinate busing of students to an off-campus location. Information on student reunification will be sent out by the district automated phone, text, or email system.

Student response during evacuation:
• Leave your belongings behind
• Form a single file line while quietly evacuating
• Listen to directions from teacher or staff
• Be prepared for alternatives during response.

Staff response during evacuation:
• Take class roster sheet and emergency bag
• Lead students to designated assembly area
• Take attendance and account for students

Shelter in Place

Shelter in Place occurs when students and staff need to be inside the building for safety, or protection from dangers or unsafe conditions outside of the building, such as hazardous material releases. During Shelter in Place, students and staff may be moved to a central part of the building and air systems shut off if hazardous conditions are present outside. Necessary movement can occur within a building, but may be limited as needed.

Student response during shelter in place:
• If outside, return to classroom
• Listen to directions from teacher or staff

Staff response during shelter in place:
• If outside, all students and staff return to classrooms
• Take attendance and account for students

Why do we practice emergency response drills?
• Lockdown, shelter in place, and evacuation drills are required by Washington State laws.

How do emergency response drills affect my child?
• When done right, preparedness training fosters empowerment and control; when done poorly, they can also be ineffective and psychologically draining. Giving kids the proper tools to handle a situation can help them have a sense of control of their fate, while not perpetuating a sense of victimization.
• We avoid full-scale, hands-on exercising with students (active role playing with responders running through halls, etc.). Law enforcement does tactical training in our school as needed when students are not present.
• All drills are always announced at the time of the drill.
• Drills are never to be done in a way that has people guessing if it’s a scenario or real-life situation.
• Scripts are often used during drills to help frame the lockdown exercise and reinforce the ‘practice’ message.
• We work on age appropriate differentiation with lockdown drills, and have language at the elementary level that is different than middle and high school.