The following letter was sent to PK-12 parents on Thursday, April 6, 2023 via ParentSquare.
The East Greenbush Central School District including all of our teachers, staff, administrators and the Board of Education are committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for the students we serve. We do this every day by following the policies and procedures that have been put in place through careful planning.
This letter outlines the safety measures we have in place as well as the definitions for terms that we use during emergency situations. I hope you find this information helpful and reassuring.
While we never want to experience emergencies such as the lockdown from last week, it is vital that we take the necessary precautions and train for those instances. That training proved valuable last week as our students and staff did an outstanding job responding to the lockdown.
Our school safety teams and administrators have met to review the events of last week’s lockdown and our district-wide Health and Safety Committee will be meeting on April 17 for further review of the incident, our response and our protocols. It is imperative that we are always discussing, evaluating and improving our safety plans.
School Safety is a Priority
Safety is one of three priorities in the East Greenbush CSD Strategic Vision. Our school district has a Health and Safety Committee that meets regularly and has members that include myself, principals, teachers, staff, and our School Resource Officers and other members of law enforcement.
Each of our schools have a safety team which follows the school district and building level safety plans.
Safety Measures at East Greenbush CSD
- All schools have a locked single point of entry through which students, employees and visitors enter
- All staff must wear photo ID badges while in school buildings
- All visitors must sign-in and put on a visitor sticker before entering school
- Security cameras monitor school entrances and surrounding areas
- All schools have an integrated security system with the ability to lockdown buildings
- Columbia High School and Howard L. Goff Middle School each have a police officer who serve as a School Resource Officer every day at those schools. They may also report to other schools as needed.
- District-employed security personnel monitor Columbia High School during school days and in the evening and on weekends
- The district benefits from strong coordination and cooperation between all of the law enforcement and emergency services agencies within our school community. Police are visible at all schools throughout the school week.
- Goff Middle School hired two security monitors earlier this school year
- All employees must be fingerprinted and pass a thorough background check before starting work in the District
- Students must adhere to the District’s Code of Conduct, which contains information on the range of consequences that may be imposed if students misbehave. This information is reviewed with students each year during the opening weeks of school.
- Every school in the District engages in a comprehensive set of drills (fire, lockdown, lockout) to ensure that students, faculty and staff are prepared should an emergency occur. Each November, every school in the District dismisses students 15 minutes early to test its Emergency Management Plan. The “Go Home Early Drill” tests the effectiveness of the transportation and communications systems in the event of an emergency.
- Safety training is provided to staff annually during Superintendent’s Conference Days
- All school buses have stop arm cameras installed to monitor for vehicles illegally passing buses
Expectations in an Emergency
Our first priority will always be the safety of our students, faculty, staff, and visitors in our buildings. In the event of a lockout, hold-in-place, evacuation, shelter-in-place, or lockdown, an initial message notifying families of the situation will go out via text, email, voice, the district website (www.egcsd.org) and social media. The message will contain the type of emergency, and any information surrounding the specific incident that we are permitted to provide.
We will continue to update the community, even if no new information is available, by providing timestamped updates. When the situation is resolved, we will send out a final update with the status of the emergency.
We understand that receiving information about an emergency can be stressful, and we will do our best to provide clear and concise updates in a timely manner. It’s important to note that you may hear from your child before a notification is sent by the school district. This is because we are collecting information and communicating with school staff and emergency responders during the event. It is important to understand that the district’s first priority is keeping students and staff safe and managing the incident. Please be aware that during a school emergency some information posted on social media and other media outlets may not be accurate.
School Emergency Procedures
Familiarize yourself with the terms used during emergency situations. More information can be found at www.egcsd.org/emergency.
- Lockdown: Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in or around the school. Doors are locked, windows are closed and locked, blinds are closed. People are directed to move away from windows and doors and remain quiet. Hallways are cleared of students and school staff. Yellow lights will flash on the outside of the school to notify people that they should not approach the building.
- Secured Lockout: Used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an imminent concern outside of the school. Any classes are immediately brought inside, all exterior windows are locked. Some visitors to the building may not be permitted inside the building. The school day continues as normal.
- Evacuation: When students and staff are moved out of the building to a pre-designated safe location.
- Shelter in Place: Used to shelter students and staff inside the building. Students remain in their classrooms and instruction can continue.
- Hold in Place: Used to limit movement of students and staff while dealing with short term emergencies.
Your Role During Emergencies
In the event of an emergency, please do not call school offices or enter school grounds. In an emergency, onsite staff are focused solely on getting everyone to a safe location. Showing up to the site can create unnecessary traffic, preventing emergency vehicles from responding quickly, and may also put you in danger. If you get a call or text from your student, help them remain calm. Remind your student that school staff know what to do in an emergency situation, and will work to keep everyone safe.
Information will be shared with parents/guardians as it becomes available. This is done through ParentSquare (text/email/voice), our website www.egcsd.org and our social media channels.
Please make sure your emergency contact information is always up to date at your child’s school. If you are not currently receiving communications from the district, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 518-207-2532 to update your information.
We appreciate your cooperation as we work to keep our school community safe. Feel free to reach out to your school principal or myself if you have any questions or concerns related to school safety.
I hope you and your children have a safe and enjoyable Spring Recess.
Superintendent of Schools