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School Drills and Responses

All schools have regular, age-appropriate drills to practice the response to a variety of emergencies, such as what to do in the event of an earthquake or fire, or in conducting a lockdown when there is a potential threat outside of a school. The school district also is implementing response protocols that would be utilized if there is a violent intruder in a school. If appropriate, students are taught to follow the directions of their teacher or an administrator to find an escape route and simply run away from a threat. Or, if escaping from the threat is not an option, students might hide in a place where the intruder won’t find them.

A lockdown is used to protect students if there is a situation that might threaten student safety. During a lockdown, students will be kept in their classrooms until the situation has been resolved. For the safety of all involved, you should not go to the school or attempt to remove your child from school while a building is in a lockdown situation.

A lockout is used when the threat is known to be outside the school building. Lockouts incorporate the same implementation procedures as a lockdown. The difference is that, in a lockout building occupants may walk around the interior of the building and continue their day-to-day operations. However, no one can enter or exit the affected building(s). A lockout lockdown may move into a full lockdown should circumstances change and warrant it.

Shelter-in-place is an emergency response tool to protect students in the event of potential exposure to a hazardous contaminant in the atmosphere. If an airborne contaminant poses a threat to students during the school day, students and staff will remain indoors and the heating and ventilation system will be shut off, which creates a neutral atmosphere pressure in the building that forms a protective barrier against the contaminant. During a shelter-in-place incident, people will not be allowed in or out of the school building until the all-clear signal is given.

Evacuations are used when leaving a facility or area is safer than remaining in those places. The goal is to exit buildings or areas as quickly and safely as possible.

Earthquake drills practice the "Drop, Cover, and Hold" protocol. The annual Great Washington Shake Out is often utilized to conduct the earthquake drill.

If weather or an emergency situation occurs that requires students to be picked up at a different time of day or at a different location than usual, a process will be established so that parents or guardians can take their child home. We ask that parents or guardians please bring photo identification (such as a driver’s license) to ensure student safety. For more information, please see Family Reunification.