U-CF addresses school safety

To address the concerns of parents, Unionville-Chadds Ford Superintendent of Schools John Sanville sent out the following message to district families:

In the wake of the tragedy at Marjory Stoneham Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida our feelings and thoughts have naturally shifted from shock and horror to the safety our own children. The questions that many of you are asking — do we have a plan, what if this were to happen here, are we prepared — have been heard loud and clear. The answer is yes. We do have plans for each school and the entire district. We are prepared, and we are also constantly updating and adapting plans as new information, new technology, and new strategies are developed.

Two years ago, the School Board approved a 31-point Safety and Security Plan to address the needs of students, staff, and buildings in the event of an active shooter or other unthinkable events. In conjunction with Chester County Emergency Services, we had a security assessment completed in each of our six schools. Based on this evaluation and working with experts in school security we developed our Safety and Security Plan.

Naturally, details of the plan are not made public but the report to the School Board presented 31 areas broken down into four categories. Below are examples of each category:

Access Control
· Installation of protective 3M film in all buildings - link to demonstration video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96x2tO9Xuxw

Response and Communication
· There is a Crisis Communication Plan for the district and each school.
· 911 panic buttons are installed in all schools in multiple locations.

Infrastructure
· Modified all entrances/vestibules to add a layer of safety and protection. Included is vision-reducing film on large glass areas.
· Rapid locking classroom door hardware installed.

Training and Assessment
· We have had over 100 emergency drills this year - including active shooter/lockdown drills.
· We have partnered with the FBI, Pennsylvania State Police, and local First Responders to conduct tabletop exercises so that we are able to respond speedily and effectively in the event of an emergency.

There is nothing more important than the safety of students, staff, and everyone working and visiting in our buildings. We have spared no expense or training opportunity in order to access the best emergency practices in preparation for the unthinkable. We will continue our diligence in preparing for not only the physical trauma but also the emotional toll such an event can cause.

Tomorrow morning, thousands of students will stream into our buildings and we will be ready with inspiring learning environments that are welcoming, challenging, and safe. Our commitment to providing students with the finest education by consummate professionals in schools that are safe has never wavered.

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