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Emergency Protocols

The following protocols may be used in the event of an emergency or critical incident:

This response protocol is used when locations outside of the school building are safer than inside the school. It requires students, faculty and staff to exit the building and involves the controlled movement of students from the building to a pre-specified safe location, either to an area on the school grounds or to an off-site location, depending upon the nature of the incident.  In such cases, parents will be notified. As with a fire drill, students remain outside until it is deemed safe to return to the building.

Hold and Secure
This response protocol is used to prevent unauthorized entry if a threat is near the school campus i.e., a robbery in proximity to the school. The school is secured from outside entry. All outside activities are canceled, students are brought inside the building, all exterior doors are secured while staff and students are free to move about inside their building. Security personnel monitor the main door to ensure that only individuals with legitimate school business enter. The principal may decide to restrict activities in the building depending on the circumstances.

This response protocol is used to temporarily separate people from severe weather or hazardous outdoor atmosphere. Students, staff and visitors are secured. Individuals in modular classrooms are brought inside the school building. Movement inside the building is limited.  Students are maintained in the classroom and instructional activities continue until it is deemed safe to return to regular activities.

Response protocol used to enhance security measures taken to protect against potentially violent intruders that may be inside the building or on the school site. The school is secured from outside entry, movement inside the building is restricted and all doors are locked. Classrooms lights are off and window blinds closed.

Drop, Cover, and Hold
This response protocol is used when an explosion or earthquake, or other danger is imminent, evacuation is not feasible, and the stability of the building is threatened. Students DROP to the ground, COVER under or near desks, tables, or chairs in a kneeling or sitting position, and HOLD onto table or chair legs. Students remain in DROP position until it is deemed safe.

How Parents Can Help During an Emergency or Critical Incident

As you know, RCPS's number one priority during an emergency is keeping our students safe. For this reason, we ask for our family’s assistance in the following three ways:

• Stay Home
• Stay Informed
• Be Ready

Stay Home
We know the natural instinct as a parent or guardian during an emergency is to come to school to protect your child. By doing so, you may endanger yourself and your child. Public safety and school personnel are busy working to control the situation and your arrival may distract them from the emergency. Please do not come to the school. The most important contribution you can make is to stay home and await further instructions.

Stay Informed
RCPS is committed to providing timely information. In some situations, accurate information may take some time to verify and share, so we ask for your patience.

During an emergency, RCPS will provide information via the appropriate communication avenues, which may include:
• District Website
• Voice, Text & Email Messages
• Social Media, including Facebook and Twitter.
• Local News Media

Be Ready
Depending on the nature of the emergency, specific actions may be required of parents. For instance, during a reunification event, you may need to come to the school to pick up your child. Please follow the directions sent by the district or your child’s school. We promise to communicate with parents/guardians.

40 Douglass Avenue NW, Roanoke, VA 24012 Phone 540-853-2502