Family Guide to School Safety

Family Guide to School Safety

Attending to your child’s safety in school is of greatest importance to the Westfield Public Schools. Our response procedures are reviewed regularly so that we can make prompt and responsible decisions in the event of an emergency.  This brochure contains information about some of our routine procedures. Please read this information so that you will be aware of our safety efforts and know what we need you to do in case of an emergency.


Please help us in the following ways:


1. Keep medical information on file for your child up-to-date. It is very important that you notify the school nurse of any health or medication changes.
2. Keep all emergency contact information current, and inform the school secretary if there are changes in your cell, office or home phone numbers.
During an  emergency please do not call the school.Telephones lines need to be kept open for emergency calls
3. Cooperate with visitor sign in and identification procedures.

4. In an emergency situation, do not immediately drive to the school. Access routes may not be open and additional traffic will interfere with safety procedure and put students at risk. Refer to the listed radio and television stations for instruction and emergency information.

5. Please have your family review and practice responses to emergency situations at home,including instructions that your child should follow in the event of an early dismissal if you are not at home.

To assist you in your home safety planning, refer to the Mass DPH website:
www.mass.gov/eohhs/MassSupport


Off-Site Evacuation / Dismissal Policy:


In an extreme emergency when school has been evacuated and it is not possible to return, an off site meeting place may be needed. Parents will be directed, through the established notification sources,to go to a designated reunification center in the community. The Superintendent, with public safety personnel, will determine the location that best meets the needs of the specific emergency, and staff will be on site to assist with dismissal procedures using the following guidelines:

· NO student will be dismissed from a primary or secondary evacuation site unless a parent or individual designated by a parent on the student’s Emergency Form, comes for him or her and is able to present a photo ID upon request.

· All parents or designated persons who come for students will be required to sign out at the front office or from a designated alternate release location.

In addition to the previously listed  notification sources,signs will be posted if an alternate location is needed.

Throughout the school year your child will be trained in emergency procedures. He or she will learn how to react, where to assemble and what to expect in an emergency situation.While it can be unsettling to think about situations that require emergency response,frequent review and practice will reduce hazards and help everyone to be prepared in an actual event.


Emergency Communications:


In an emergency we will make every effort to keep you informed so that you will understand the situation, what is being done in response, and any instructions for families.Information will be disseminated in many ways, including:

· Broadcast on local television stations – TV-22, TV-40, TV–3, and Public  Access-15

· Broadcast by radio – WHYN AM & FM, WMAS (94.7FM), WNNZ (640 AM) and WAQY (102 FM)

· Blackboard Connect


Evacuation:


The need to evacuate students from a building before the regularly scheduled dismissal time could arise from a relatively minor incident such as a power failure, or from a major event such as fire or bomb threat. During evacuation, students are guided to the nearest exit and assemble at established locations.  Communication into the school, dismissal times and transportation may be temporarily disrupted. Families will receive information and instructions from the listed communication sources.


Lockdown or Shelter-in-Place:


Lockdown or Shelter-in-Place is implemented when it has been determined that the conditions outside of the classroom or building are potentially unsafe. Situations that may activate a lock down/ sheltering response include hazardous materials situation near the school, police activity close by, or potential intruder alerts. While lockdowns are extremely rare, lock down drills are conducted periodically to ensure the staff members and students are prepared to respond confidently and calmly. During a lock down drill, as with an actual event,students and staff will be remaining quiet in secure locations until the drill or event concludes. It is not possible for anyone to enter or exit the building until the event  is declared over by the principal or public safety official. Information concerning the lockdown is given to families through the listed communication sources.

Early or Delayed Dismissal Due to Inclement Weather:


In severe weather or similar emergencies when travel conditions are expected to deteriorate, it maybe necessary to take the precaution of an early dismissal, or to delay dismissal until conditions improve.  You will be informed of modified dismissal times through the listed communication sources. For Kindergartners, bus riders are returned to their school or the police department if no one is at the usual drop-off point and no alternate adult has been authorized to receive them. For all other children, families should have a procedure that could be followed in case of an unanticipated early or delayed dismissal.


Please call the Main Office at (413)572-6533 with questions or concerns.  Thank you.