Emergencies At Your Child's School
Sometimes emergencies happen at schools. To help everyone remain calm and act quickly in an urgent situation, each school has detailed plans that students and staff practise regularly throughout the year.
Learn about emergency procedures
- Ask to see the emergency plans, which are available in the school office.
- Review parent handbooks to find out where to meet your child after an emergency.
- Talk to the principal for more information.
Information in an emergency
In an emergency, we may communicate with you in a number of ways. We may call families, post updates on SchoolZone, share information through the Division's social media channels or through local media.
Help keep your child safe in an emergency
- Don’t call the school. Too many calls can overload the phone system and prevent emergency workers from making timely contact with the school.
- Don’t call or text your child. In a lockdown, staff and students stay out of sight and keep quiet because there is an immediate threat to the school. A ringing or vibrating phone can reveal your child’s location.
- Don’t go to the school. Extra vehicles and people in the area can make it difficult for emergency workers to do their jobs. We will tell you if we need you to come to the school or an alternate location.
Reuniting with your child after an emergency
Most emergencies don’t last long and are resolved before the school day ends.
- If it’s the end of the school day and an emergency has just ended, school staff and/or emergency workers will be at the school and tell you where to go to meet your child. If your child takes the bus, you will be notified if the bus is on time or late. If your child walks home, staff will take necessary precautions to ensure your child is safe leaving the site.
- In some emergencies, your child’s class and teacher will go to an alternate safe site. If that happens, you will be notified about where to go to pick up your child. Sign out procedures will be in place - your child must be picked up by a parent, guardian or another adult.
Types of emergencies
A threat is outside the school. All exterior doors are locked. There are no outside activities. Classes continue as normal.
Lockdowns happen when there is an immediate threat to the school. All interior doors are locked. Staff and students keep quiet and stay out of sight. If staff and students are on a field trip, they will go to an alternate safe site instead of returning to the school. Students will not be released from the school until emergency responders say it is safe.
Schools may be evacuated during a fire, flood or explosion. They may also be evacuated due to a bomb threat. All staff, students and visitors immediately leave the building and proceed to the school’s meeting place. Everyone either stays at the meeting place or moves to an alternate safe site. Staff, students and visitors return to the building only after emergency responders say it is safe.
Staff and students inside the building go to pre-designated shelter areas, which are usually interior hallways on the lowest floor of a building. If the school is damaged and it is safe to go outside, staff, students and visitors may be evacuated.