Reunification of students with parents or guardians in the event of a school emergency and evacuation was a key component of Monday’s district-wide emergency simulation for Scottsbluff Public Schools.
Fire drills at Bluffs Middle School and Scottsbluff High provided one scenario, with students at the middle school being evacuated to the high school, one of two possible sites for use to hold those students until adults could pick them up.
The exercise added about 800 kids to the high school campus, but Safety and Security Coordinator James Todd says in such a scenario, school administrators would work to keep the chaos to a minimum. “We realize there may be times we’re dealing with a trauma situation, it could be something similar to this, a school fire or something along those lines where they may not be able to respond to the middle school to pick up their kids like they do on a normal basis,” says Todd, “We’ve got a plan, a backup plan to get them back to their parents and where they need to go.”
In the case of a real evacuation requiring reunification of kids with their families, only those who have been listed as a proper person to pick up a child would be allowed to do so, and photo ID would be required. Those parents or guardians are currently detailed on contact cards filled out at each school for each student, but officials are looking at updating that system to make it more effective and efficient.
Overall, both Todd and Superintendent Rick Myles said they were pleased with the outcome of the drills, which also provided an opportunity to test for any weaknesses in the district’s plan.
Myles says the district has always had reunification plans, but this was the first test of the system, and he praised Todd’s work in helping develop and coordinate the response of school officials if such a situation takes place in the future.