District news update

From the Office of the Superintendent
Posted on 08/28/2019
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The safety and welfare of our students and staff are our highest priority. As a result, the Woonsocket Education Department takes all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of students and staff in all our schools. Each school in the Woonsocket Education Department has Emergency Management Plans that address any urgent situation that may arise. Each building principal leads an Emergency Response/Crisis Team  and has developed a course of action for every emergency contingency. In addition, the Woonsocket Education Department Facilities and Safety Subcommittee meets regularly to review school and district safety and emergency procedures.


During the course of the school year, each school in the Woonsocket Education Department practices the following emergency drills: Fire Drills, Lockdown Drills, and Evacuation Drills. The dates and times of each drill will not be announced.  Below is an explanation of each drill that each school conducts: 


Fire Drills

Each school will conduct a total of fifteen (15) Fire Drills during the course of the school year. This is a requirement for all Rhode Island schools. We want each student to understand and be aware of the importance of this drill and to be prepared when the fire alarm is sounded. 


Lockdown Drills

Each school will conduct a total of two (2) Lockdown Drills during the course of the school year. This is a requirement for all Rhode Island schools. This type of drill will secure the school building and safely shelter all students, staff, and visitors inside the building. The purpose of this drill is to keep students safe from any danger outside or inside the building or medical emergency, and may be called for a perceived, but not substantiated threat. During a lockdown drill all of the perimeter doors to the building will be locked and will remain locked until the danger or issue outside or inside the building is removed. For everyone in the building’s safety, no one will be allowed to enter the building or leave the building until the lockdown has ended.





Evacuation Drills

Each school will conduct a total of two (2) Evacuation Drills during the course of the school year. This is a requirement for all Rhode Island schools. During an evacuation drill, students will be safely escorted by staff along a designated evacuation route to the school’s predetermined evacuation site. Should the emergency situation allow students and staff to reenter the building, they will be escorted safely back to the building.  


However, should an emergency situation not allow students and staff to reenter the building, the following protocol will take place: buses will transport elementary and middle school students and staff to Woonsocket High School for reunification with parents or guardians;  busses will transport Woonsocket High School 9th and 10th grade students and staff to Hamlet Middle School, and 11th and 12th grade students and staff will be transported to Villa Nova Middle School for reunification with parents or guardians. Parents will receive notification via email through our automated alert system SchoolMessenger as to where you should pick up your student. Students will only be dismissed to persons who are on the school’s Emergency Contact Form. Parents must have proper identification when they arrive to dismiss their student.


Building principals have been instructed to share their school’s Emergency Plan with staff and to review the emergency drills and protocols with their staff and students at the beginning of the school year.

 

In order for our Crisis Teams to be effective, we depend on the cooperation and assistance of many people, such as the Woonsocket Police, Woonsocket Fire Department, and other local agencies. We also depend on our parents/guardians, to support our emergency response efforts. As a result, their cooperation is vital to helping us protect the safety and welfare of all students and staff. Therefore, we ask parents and guardians to observe the following procedures:


  1. The emergency automated alert system through SchoolMessenger will contact each parent by email should there be a real emergency. Do not telephone the school if there is a real emergency. We understand and respect your concern, however it is essential that the phone system be available for emergency communications and all of our efforts are directed to the students and staff.

  2. Not to come to the school unless instructed to do so as it may be necessary to keep the streets and parking lot clear for emergency response vehicles. Again, if evacuation is required, students may be transported to a location away from the school (all elementary and middle school students will be bussed to Woonsocket High School; Woonsocket High School 9th and 10th grade students will be bussed to Hamlet Middle School, and 11th and 12th grade students will be bussed to Villa Nova Middle School). 

  3. Not contact students or staff members via cell phone or social media (as they will be busy with the drill or actual emergency).

  4. Avoid social media posts. Correct and accurate information will be disseminated through our emergency automated SchoolMessenger system as soon a possible.

  5. Talk to their students and emphasize how important it is for them to follow instructions from their teachers and school staff during an emergency situation. Please emphasize the purpose and importance of appropriate behavior during emergency drills.


Please remember that these safety practice drills are done to help maintain our schools as a safe place to learn and work.


Please do not hesitate to contact your building principal or the office of the superintendent should you have any questions about our emergency preparedness procedures.


Sincerely yours,



Patrick J. McGee, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools