The school year may be over, but keeping your chid safe is a priority all the time for area school leaders.
“Weather is a really important part of our day. It’s important because we have everyone’s most prized possession in our building, their children.”
Heather Denmyer, Principal of Seventh District Elementary School shares how her school gets severe weather information, “Of course we watch the weather every morning before school starts. Every schoolhouse in Baltimore County has a weather radio. Sometimes when it goes off, it’s a little scary, because it is very loud and it lets us know immediately whether it’s a watch or a warning”
A watch means the conditions are favorable for the development of severe weather. A warning means severe weather is occurring or about to occur, so you need to take action immediately.
“What we do, is we go to a safe place. We’re not going to go to areas of the schoolhouse that have a large window or doors that could potentially open in a terrible weather event.”
When you hear the emergency siren you need to find a safe spot, a hallway or a room free of windows.
“Our building is very much like a bunker. We do not have a lot of exterior windows or doors in classrooms, but those classrooms that do, those students move away from the windows, move away from any exterior door and move to a safe space in the classroom”
Severe weather drills take place twice a year and are designed to educate children on how to be prepared, “And a severe weather drill consists of first we make an announcement, that there is in fact severe weather. We talk through those scenarios, the what ifs, like where do we go if there actually is a tornado and we’re near a bank of windows.”
“Each classroom teacher has practiced those drills and they know where to go, if they need to leave their classroom. We want to make sure that we are very well practiced and we know what procedures and protocols are in place.”
The weather safety plan is something that is outlined in information sent home with parents at the start of each school year, “Every student at the beginning of the year turns in a form that their parents completed that lets us know if there is an emergency dismissal and our aftercare is not open or available due to severe weather or lets say it’s snowing and children need to get home, they have an alternate plan to get home.”
“Information would first and foremost go out through Baltimore County public schools and that would be posted on the website. We are in constant communication with our bus companies, BCPS transportation, and of course our families.”