The safety of children is our top priority at Voorheesville Central School District. All members of our school community have a role in school safety, and knowing how to respond in the event of an emergency is an important part of this. Please review this information carefully.
- Facility Safety
- Staff and Student Training
- Expectations of Parents & Families
- How Can YOU Prepare for an Emergency?
- Tips for Talking with Children About School Safety
- District-wide Safety Plan
Shelter-in-Place: A shelter-in-place is when students and staff are required to remain indoors, perhaps for an extended period of time, because it is safer inside the building or a room than outside.
Hold-in-Place: A hold-in-place is used to limit movement of students and staff while dealing with short term emergencies.
Lockout: A lockout is the course of action the school will execute to secure the school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an imminent concern outside of the school.
Lockdown: A lockdown is used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence inside or around the school. The primary objective of a lockdown is to quickly ensure all school staff, students and visitors are secured in rooms away from immediate danger.
Evacuation: Evacuation of a school building takes place if it is determined that it is safer outside than inside the building (fire, explosion, hazardous material spill), and staff, students and visitors can safely reach the evacuation location without danger.
- A single point of entry to buildings is required.
- Entrances at the middle and high school are attended by monitors requiring visitors to sign in. The elementary school has a buzz-in system
- There are multiple emergency call buttons on each campus to alert law enforcement to a significant threat
- Video surveillance is strategically located across the district and is accessible 24/7 to administrators
- All campuses are alarmed when not occupied
- Campuses are being installed with safety shield protection
- VCSD has ongoing collaboration with NYS Police, the Albany County Sheriff’s Office and first responders to complete safety audits/inspections.
Staff and Student Training
A district-wide safety plan and individual school safety plans are established annually. Staff and student training is a critical component of implementing the plan. Each year, students and staff are required to complete four lockdown and eight fire drills. The goal is to ensure that all are well-versed in safety procedures and protocols. These drills and procedures will continue to evolve based on best practices and our work with law enforcement. We are focused on ensuring they are meaningful and age-appropriate.
Expectations of Parents & Families
- In the event of an emergency, communications will be sent from the district to families via text, e-mail and phone call when we have accurate and appropriate information to share. Updates will be posted on the district website, as needed.
- In the event of an emergency situation, DO NOT rush to the school. This will create additional traffic and may impede emergency vehicles or otherwise disrupt response procedures.
- DO NOT CALL your student on his/her cell phone. Silence may be important in case there is an emergency and students need to focus on following instructions from adults at school.
- Please avoid speculating about emergency situations on social media, as this can cause more panic and disruption.
- If a situation requires transporting students to an alternate site, parents/guardians will be informed of that location via the district’s messaging system and the website.
- Students may be held at an alternate site until release is approved by the district or public safety officials. Students will only be released to authorized individuals.
How Can YOU Prepare for an Emergency?
- Have an early dismissal plan and make sure your child is aware of it, including they will go, who will be waiting for them at the bus stop. Make sure emergency “backup” contacts (e.g. grandparents, neighbors) know their role.
- All parents/guardians MUST keep their emergency contact information and school records updated. If you have any questions, please contact the school’s main offices.
- Make sure your student knows his/her bus number, regardless of if they take the bus on a regular basis. Buses may be used to transport all students in an emergency and it is important they know the number.
Tips for Talking with Children About School Safety
Whether it’s on the news or related to a drill or incident at school, students may have concerns or questions related to their safety at times. School counselors and social workers are available to support your child – reach out if you need help.
- Remind students that schools are safe places. Our school staff works with local police and fire departments, emergency responders, and medical professionals to keep them safe.
- Children should tell an adult they trust if they see or hear something that makes you feel uncomfortable, nervous, or frightened.
- At times it may be prudent to limit the students’ exposure to the media.
- Try to say calm and answer questions the best that you can.
- When something upsets a child, sticking to a routine and doing activities they enjoy is often helpful.
- There are opportunities for students to play a positive role in the school and community, through clubs, other activities or just helping classmates.
District-wide School Safety Plan
Districts are required to develop a District-wide School Safety Plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The District-wide School Safety Plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed building-level emergency response plans required at the school-building level.
View the District-wide School Safety Plan here.