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Safety

A Safety-First Philosophy

The tragedy that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in 2012 shook the foundation of every school across the country. School systems acknowledged that previous safety practices which were once considered sufficient were no longer enough. Schools had to become even safer.

As students return to our schools, they are entering into the same welcoming school cultures and environments as they always have. There are signs of change, however. Our schools are more secure than ever. We believe in safety first.

School Security Deputies

When our students are in school during the regular school day, a fully-trained and armed school security deputy will be stationed at each school facility and will be responsible for patrolling school buildings and campuses and responding to a security threat. Deputies are employed by the Worcester County Sheriff's Office.

We believe that having school security deputies in our schools is the most significant layer of protection for our students and staff.

While safety is their mission, school security deputies are not on our school campuses to address discipline issues. Discipline issues should be immediately reported to the school's administration.

Front-Door Entry Systems

With a secure perimeter around each school facility that is enhanced by deputy patrols, security cameras, and locked doors, visitors during the school day must seek entry through the front doors of our schools. New front-door entry systems have been installed and door monitors have been trained on system operation and on procedures associated with granting building access.

To seek entry, visitors must

  1. Press the button briefly to activate a bell that sounds for the door monitor.
  2. When the monitor responds, answer his or her questions. (Do not press the button while speaking!)
  3. Do not hold open the door for others to enter, unless directed by the monitor.

Card-Swiping System

Seven of our schools have portable classroom areas, located outside of the main school facility. Doors leading to portable classroom areas have been equipped with a card-swiping system. Only individuals with a card will be able to enter through these access doors.

Procedures are in place to accommodate the changing of classes, other scheduled transitions, and restroom passes.

Exiting a School

Although school facility entry will be managed, students, staff, and visitors will be able to exit our facilities, in compliance with all code regulations.

Visitor Identification

The recent tragedies which have occurred at public places in our country have shown how important it is to be able to identify exactly who is in a facility. The Fast-Pass visitor identification system does just that, in addition to helping to ensure that the visitors in our school buildings have been cleared by a national background scanning system.

Visitors will be asked to furnish an ID, such as a license. The ID will be scanned and a background check will be conducted by the system. Office personnel have been trained regarding other forms of identification which can be used by the system.

Once a visitor is cleared, the system will take a photograph and will store information about the visitor, such as contact information. This quickens the process for future visits.

In all cases, cleared visitors will be furnished with an ID label which includes the visitor's name, purpose of visit, and photograph. It will also identify the label's expiration.

Practice, Practice, and Practice

In compliance with state recommendations, your child will be practicing safety drills throughout the school year for emergencies associated with bus transportation, facility fire, lockdowns (code red), and evacuations. We appreciate your support in helping your child understand the importance of our safety drills. We believe that practice is an essential component to saving lives and reducing injury in the event of an actual crisis.

Together, we can continue to provide our students and staff with safe and nurturing learning environments.

Codes of Operation

Worcester County Public Schools has developed, in collaboration with the Worcester County Sheriff's Department, standardized codes of operation. These codes are not confidential; rather, they help build a uniform understanding of the security risk level that may be occurring at a school facility. Below are the definitions and corresponding safety actions.

  • Code RED: "Lockdown"
  • Code YELLOW: "Shelter in Place"
  • Code GREEN: "Normal Daily Operations"

RED

Normal schedule is stopped. Students and staff will remain in classrooms or report to a securable area. Students will move away from windows and doors and await instruction. This code will be used when the highest risks to safety are present, typically with a recommendation from law enforcement or emergency services.

YELLOW

Although the educational schedule will continue, access will be controlled in and out of the building. All portable classes may be relocated into the main facility. All exterior activities will be delayed or cancelled until the concern is addressed.

GREEN

Schools will follow normal operations, without restrictions.

Policy

Safety Policy