State Guidance Updates Safety Plans for 2016-17
Nov. 2, 2016
Beginning this fall, Queensbury Union Free School District – along with all districts in New York state – must conduct four lockdown drills every school year and increase emergency response training, under new rules adopted by the New York State Board of Regents in June.
Lockdown Drills to Increase
All New York school districts are required to participate in 12 safety drills every school year. Under the latest plan approved by state education policy makers, four of those drills must now be lockdown drills. The remaining eight drills are evacuation drills – widely referred to as fire drills (pictured).
“School districts must complete eight drills before December 31,” District Safety Compliance and Asset Control Coordinator Ann Marie Mason said. “Those eight drills can be any combination of a lockdown or evacuation drill, and the remaining four drills must be conducted before the end of the school year.”
Drills Keep Safety in Mind
During a lockdown drill, students and staff practice clearing hallways, locking doors and taking positions out of sight as quickly as possible. According to the Board of Regents, lockdown drills prepare schools for “the highest level of threat.”
Evacuation drills ensure students and staff exit a building as quickly as possible and in an organized fashion in the event of a sudden emergency.
“I think schools have done so well with evacuation drills that emphasis now needs to be placed on lockdown drills,” Mason said. “More practice helps keep the process at the forefront.”
Safety Efforts Ongoing
Following are some other statewide safety recommendations from the Education Department to be implemented in 2016-17:
- Establish policies and procedures for contacting parents in the event of an implied or direct threat of violence by a student.
- Create a more streamlined process for reporting incidences of bullying and violence.
- Expand violence prevention training.