December 13, 2016
Dear St. Joseph Catholic School Community,
Throughout the first few months of the school year, we’ve taken a fresh look at our safety procedures for the school, and we’ve elected to put into place some new expectations for how we respond in emergency situations. We’ll be participating in implementation of the Standard Response Protocol (SRP), which is used nationwide in many schools, colleges, and universities. Here’s a parent and student overview of the four main elements of the SRP - lockout, lockdown, evacuate, & shelter.
To clarify two of the terms that we’re using beginning this school year, a lockout is different from a lockdown. The differentiation between lockout and lockdown is a critical element in SRP. A lockout recovers all students from outside the building, secures the building perimeter, and locks all outside doors. This would be implemented when there is a threat or hazard outside of the building. Criminal activity, dangerous events in the community, or even a vicious dog on the playground would be examples of a lockout response. While the lockout response encourages greater staff situational awareness, it allows for educational practices to continue with little classroom interruption or distraction.
Lockdown is a classroom-based protocol that requires locking the classroom door, turning off the lights, and placing students out of sight of any corridor windows. Student action during lockdown is to remain quiet. Lockdowns are put into place when there is a threat or perceived threat inside the building.
During a lockout drill we held today, all exterior doors were secured and any students outside were brought inside. Activities inside the buildings continued as usual, except that students, faculty, staff, and parents were restricted from exiting any of our buildings and all people were restricted from entering the buildings. At the conclusion of the lockout drill, we conducted our monthly fire drill.
As part of our safety plan, there are monthly fire drills and periodic earthquake, lockdown, or lockout drills throughout the year. We encourage you to continue the conversation with your child or children regarding emergency drills. Although they are essential to the safety of the students, parents might need to help students with the emotions these drills, especially lockdown drills, can cause or the questions that they bring up.
As always, our priority is the safety of the children entrusted to our care. If you have any questions regarding today’s lockout drill or any of our safety procedures, please contact me or vice principal Anna Raineri at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advent joy and blessings,
Joe Manning, Principal