Friday’s horrific elementary school shooting in Connecticut reinforced the need for local officials “to plan, prepare and practice for any emergency,” Ross Valley School District Superintendent Eileen Rohan told Patch Friday afternoon.
We hope an event of such magnitude won’t ever happen in Marin, but if it does, parents and guardians might be happy to know that officials have several safety policies and procedures in place.
“Every district school has a School Site Safety Plan, which is annually reviewed and updated by site administrators and approved by our director of maintenance,” Rohan wrote to Patch in an e-mail. “The safety plan outlines the emergency protocols and procedures to respond to multiple situations that might occur on a school campus such as fire, earthquake, lock down situations (stranger on campus) and student release/evaluation.”
Rohan said all Ross Valley School District schools regularly practice emergency drills and each site has emergency supplies both in classrooms and stored in an outside container in case an extended stay should that be necessary. The supplies include blankets, search and rescue equipment, first aid supplies, water and food.
If there was an emergency such as a shooting, district officials would do the following, according to Rohan:
- The school office would initiate a lockdown with communication to the entire campus and call 911
- The school would notifie the district office using an emergency communication system (non tech based system)
- District officials would notify the Marin County Office of Education
- RVSD superintendent or designee would implement the emergency communication protocol to inform parents
In an incident of the magnitude of the shooting, Rohan said the district would communicate directly with parents and guardians until the school was operational.
The Newtown, Connecticut shooting isn’t going to change any the district’s practices, such as visitor terms, Rohan said.
Mill Valley School District Superintendent Paul Johnson wrote in an e-mail to community members that they are “doubling” efforts to reinforce safety and emergency procedures
San Anselmo Police Corporal Sethi Jervan said all the police officers have had trainings on active shooter situations and setting up a command post. “We definitely do have a protocol in place to handle tragedies like this,” she said.
She said when it comes to community communications, most of the local schools have set up a phone tree system to alert everyone about major events.
“A lot of times, the families want to be where the children are so they show up at the command post," she said. "We provide space for the families and provide regular debriefings and updates on what’s being done and how to find out the condition of a loved one.”
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