St. Peter Catholic Elementary School has an extensive and comprehensive Emergency Response plan. It has been developed to provide a guideline for staff and students’ safety response to various emergency situations. Here is a summary for parents so they can review some of these procedure with their children.
A reminder that Emergency situations may be complex. Therefore, response decisions may vary depending on each unique situation.
LOCK DOWN PROCEDURES
At Saint Peter we have 2 Lock Down Drills per year.
As per the Region of Waterloo School Board / Police Protocol there are three different levels of response to urgent school security issues:
- Shelter in place: means keeping all occupants within the school to protect them from an external (non-violent) situation (e.g. chemical spill, explosion, extreme weather, neighbourhood gas leak, etc.).
- Hold and secure: means securing the school due to an ongoing situation outside the school and unrelated to the school during which school continues to function normally, with the exterior doors locked until the situation near the school is resolved (e.g. bank robbery near the school, hostage-taking in the neighbourhood, threat from an at-large wild animal, etc.).
- Lockdown: means securing the school due to a major incident or threat of violence within the school, or in direct relation to the school. Students and staff will report to areas that can be secured, doors will be locked, lights will be turned off, silence will be maintained and persons will remain out of view of doors or windows.
Communication with Parents/Guardians/Community About a Lockdown
Parents, guardians and the general community are strongly encouraged to remain away from any school engaged in a lockdown. There is nothing bystanders can do to change the situation inside the school and their presence may, in fact, hamper the work of emergency responders.
Parents and guardians are strongly discouraged from attempting to contact their children in the school via cell phone. A ringing cell phone can draw an intruder’s attention to the location of students and staff – jeopardizing not just their lives but potentially jeopardizing the lives of police inside the building.
Any parents, guardians, or visitors or outside contractors inside a school when a lockdown is initiated must remain in a secure area with staff and students until the all clear is given.
In all cases where a lockdown, which was not a drill, has been ordered, the school will send home a communication regarding the incident at the earliest possible opportunity.
Parents are encouraged to ensure their contact information at the school is up to date so staff in the event of an emergency can easily reach them.
FIRE ALARM PROCEDURES
We have 6 fire drills in the school year. (3 in the Fall and 3 in the Spring)
When the fire alarm sounds students and staff are expected to walk quickly and silently in single file out of the school. Students move to the far end of the field and attendance is taken and reported to the Principal. As the staff are exiting the school, they will look around the classroom, hallway, common areas etc. for anything that is “out of the ordinary”. There is a YELLOW FIRE EXIT SIGN posted in a prominent place in each classroom. Main and Alternate exists are recorded clearly on the card.
SEVERE WEATHER DRILLS
We have Severe Weather drills once per year where students will leave their classrooms and find a spot to sit in the hall with their backs to the wall, away from a window or door. They are to remain quiet so they can hear directions from authority (fire fighters, police) as the electricity may be off as well.
As the opioid crisis has deepened, the discovery of discarded needles in public spaces and on private property has become more frequent – and our WCDSB school sites have not been exempt from this. As a result, it is more important than ever for staff, students and parents to understand some important rules, should they encounter a needle anywhere.
For purposes of doing as much as we reasonably can to ensure students and staff do not come into contact with needles that may end up on school property, school custodians complete their daily site walk-about, with special emphasis on any known “hiding spots” on the site.
Since needles are now frequently showing up across Waterloo Region in areas children may visit on the way to and from school (pathways, parks, parking lots, wooded areas, etc.) it is important to provide families with accurate information they can use to educate their children about the dangers. Region of Waterloo Public Health & Emergency Services has provided this graphic you may wish to use.
The main message is for everyone to keep their eyes open to where they are walking and playing, and to report any items that they consider dangerous to a yard supervisor if they are at school office or to their parents. Children need to be reminded to not touch any discarded items on the yard or in any public spaces.