• EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT and SUPPORT
    Frequently Asked Questions
     
    1.       What is Emergency Preparedness? The Killingly Public Schools District (KPSD) has taken steps to ensure your child's safety while in school. Each school has developed a crisis response plan. Emergency preparedness is basically preparing the steps one will take in the event of an emergency, such as contact information, communications, and evacuation plans, lockdown plans, etc.
     
    2.       How can I stay informed?  KPSD broadcasts emergency messages, when necessary, using a number of media. General emergency messages, early and late school openings and closings can be found on cable Channel 20 and the Connecticut television networks (Channels 3, 8). Emergency messages are transmitted to local media, and parents are encouraged to listen to radio or television.
     

    3.       How will my child's school handle an emergency situation?  All KPSD schools have an emergency crisis plan. The specifics of each plan differ for each location. The response to each situation will differ based on the specifics of that situation. The flexibility of the plan is key to the success of the response. In general, each plan involves the designation of a crisis management team; development of evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lockdown procedures; preparation of a portable critical response kit  (“To Go Bags”) that contains key information and supplies; designation of one or more appropriate evacuation sites; provisions for training personnel and updating the plan; outlines for dealing with specific types of incidents; and resources for help before, during and after an event. All KPSD school plans have been reviewed within the last twelve months, and school crisis teams have reviewed the plans. The school specific plan is exempt from release to the public.

     
    4.       How can I see the security plan for my child's school?  KPSD does not release this type of specific information as a protection precaution against terrorism.  
     

    5.       What is lockdown?  An emergency may prevent the safe evacuation of a school building and require steps to isolate students and faculty from danger by instituting a school lockdown. In an interior lockdown situation, all students are kept in classrooms or other designated locations that are away from the danger. Faculty members are responsible for accounting for students and ensuring that no one leaves the safe area. School personnel will also secure building entrances, ensuring that no unauthorized individuals leave or enter the building. Exterior lockdown procedures may also be used to ensure the safety of students when an incident occurs in the community. Parents will NOT be permitted access to the building or campus. Parent-student reunification is a component of the district emergency plan and will be seriously considered as soon as public safety deems it safe to implement.

     

    6.       What will the KPSD do if an act of war or other emergency situation occurs while students are in school?  The specific actions taken by the KPSD in any emergency situation-both district wide and at individual schools-will depend on the specifics of the situation. Any action taken would depend on several factors, including the level of threat and the advice of local, state, and federal agencies. The safety of students and staff members will be the primary concern in any decision.
     

    7.       What is Shelter-in-Place?  Shelter-in-Place is a short-term solution to a short-term problem. If an accident or attack that created contaminated air occurred in the nearby area, everyone would be brought indoors. Building personnel would close all windows and doors and shut down the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). This would create a neutral pressure in the building, meaning the contaminated air would not be drawn into the building.

    Shelter-in-place is a short-term measure (measured in minutes or hours, not days) designed to use a facility and its indoor atmosphere to temporarily separate people from a hazardous outdoor environment. The alternative would be to evacuate into a hazardous situation, thereby causing harm to all involved.

    No stockpiling of water and food is needed for shelter-in-place. Any event of a magnitude that required such stockpiling would require that we all take our direction from the federal emergency management officials. Parents are concerned that, during a shelter-in-place activity, they couldn't pick up their children and might be separated from them for long periods of time. That will not happen; if the air outside the school is safe for parents to breathe, it is safe for their children to breathe. School district personnel have developed a plan that uses the best possible method for ensuring the safety of students and staff members in this type of crisis. Remember, it is not the school system's intention to keep children from their parents. KPSD personnel are merely endeavoring to keep children safe for parents until the parents can pick them up.
     
    8.       Why would you keep children from their parents?  KPSD does not intend to keep children from their parents if a crisis occurs during school hours or school activities. It is the school district's intent to make sure that children are safe inside their schools until such a time that the threat has been reduced or eliminated. Parents will be informed of the parent-student reunification information transmitted through the district emergency message system and local media. Parents are encouraged to listen to the local media, radio or television
     

    9.       Why can't I be given the evacuation and parent reunification locations ahead of time?  KPSD does not release this type of specific information as a protection and precaution against terrorism. Also, during emergency situations, circumstances could arise that might force changes to previously designated locations. Parents will be informed of parent-student reunification center locations via the local media and through school resources.  Emergency messages are transmitted to local media, and parents are encouraged to listen to radio or television.

     

    10.       Are schools stockpiling food and water? The school district is taking action to make sure that schools and offices have the appropriate resources available for a short-term event. In the event of a large-scale catastrophic event, the KPSD would rely on federal and state authorities for assistance.
     
    11.       Why aren't the schools storing three days of water and food for each child as is being recommended for homes?  Most of the envisioned emergency situations would be localized short-term events and would not call for long-term supplies. It is unreasonable to expect our facilities to stockpile three days worth of food and water inside each facility for each person.
     
    12.       What if my child is riding a school bus at the time of a crisis?  The Superintendent of Schools, in collaboration and coordination with the Supervisor of Transportation and other local emergency officials, will be in contact with bus drivers for instructions in the event that a situation occurs while students are in transport. Bus drivers will be informed to use common sense and not travel toward the crisis location. Parents will be informed of the parent-student reunification center location through school resources and the local media. Parents are encouraged to listen to radio or television.
     
    13.       Can I pick up my child?  Parents may be allowed to pick up their children unless public safety officials have declared a shelter-in-place response, or there is some other reason why access to the facility (school or campus)  is restricted. During any emergency, school personnel will maintain as safe and normal environment for children within the school as is possible. School is not automatically canceled in emergency situations. Remember, school may be the safest place for children to be depending on the circumstances!
     
    14.       Who can pick up my children?  Children will not be released to individuals who are not authorized on the student's emergency care card or who do not have written parent authorization. Parents and guardians, at the start of each school year, complete the emergency care form. Parents and guardians are encouraged to update the emergency care card as needed throughout the school year.
     
    Friends and neighbors may sign a child or children out with written permission from a parent or parents. Parents or legal guardians have to give permission in writing for the sign out and pickup. Schools prefer to have written permission on the day that a child's pickup will change, but schools will also keep written permission on file. School offices will keep the permission notes-usually they will attach them to the emergency care card(s) of those involved. Schools will also ask for identification when the child is released to the one(s) mentioned in the permission note. It is advisable to communicate with the teacher as well, perhaps with a copy of the signed written note.
     
    15.       What about my child's medication?  If your child takes medication regularly, you, the parent, should make sure that the school has an appropriate amount of additional medication on hand. Talk with your child's school nurse for more information.
     
    16.       Are students allowed to have cell phones at school?  High school students are allowed to have cell phones at school. Students are not allowed to have them turned on, or use any function of the device, during the school day. In the event of an emergency, students will not be allowed to use their phones to communicate with parents unless specified - authorized by the principal. It is important to recognize that in an emergency situation cell phone circuits may become overloaded, interfering with public safety's ability to communicate. Student's use of cell phones during an emergency often times creates additional disruptions and complications for school and emergency personnel.
     
    17.       Can I contact my child?  Parents are asked not to call the school in emergency situations so phone lines can remain accessible for handling the specific situation. Parents will be kept informed through school resources and the local media.
     
    18.       Will children be allowed to view events via live television or radio reports?  In the event of a terrorist attack or other crisis, teachers will be informed as to the appropriate actions to take. Receiving live media coverage in the classroom about an attack or crisis will be left up to the principal’s discretion. Appropriate measures will be taken depending on the age of the students.
     
    19.       How are field trips handled?  The impact of any critical situation on field trips--both district wide and at individual schools--will depend on the specifics of the situation. If the situation warrants, all field trips will be canceled. Cancellations could also include travel to athletic events, extracurricular events, community programs, and other events. There may be circumstances that could require the cancellation of field trips to certain areas. All school buses are equipped with radio communications with the district administrative office. If a field trip is under way and must be recalled, buses would be directed to return to the school or a designated safe area. Any such decision will be announced using the local media. Parents are reminded that the KPSD retains the right to cancel any field trip for safety reasons and is not responsible for any financial obligations parents may have.
     

    September 2009