Safety at View Ridge is something we take very seriously. We know that many of you have friends or family who were involved in lock-downs and shelters-in-place earlier this month. I want to share with you a few of the safety practices that we have in place, our monthly drill schedule and some safety related items we continue to work on.
In today’s climate, the possibility of gun violence or violence at school is on the minds of many. At View Ridge we are in direct communication with our safety and security office at the district. We are able to hear communication in real time regarding events that require lockdown in our vicinity – even if we are not directly impacted. Mr. Roos and I also receive direct communication to our cell phones from the Seattle Police Department.
As part of drill schedule, students and staff practice lock-down drills and shelter-in-place drills three times each year. For a lock-down, we are practicing in case there is a report of a dangerous person inside our campus or building. Exterior and classroom doors are locked, lights are turned off, blinds are closed and students and staff hide. We practice not opening the door and not following directions given over the intercom. A known person enters each classroom with a key to announce the end of the drill and provide information about next steps. We will have a lock-down drill today, Friday, November 30.
Shelter-in-place is for instances when there is a dangerous person reported in the neighborhood, but not on campus. Exterior doors are locked and business continues as usual inside the building.
Our staff safety team meets monthly to plan and prepare for the case of a critical incident such as a destructive earthquake or an event that makes our building uninhabitable. We have on site a container with equipment, water, family contact information and health information. Our November meeting will include looking for expiration dates and identifying any items that need replaced. Contact and health information is updated regularly.
I know many parents have questions about the number of entrances to our building. The school district is in the process of assessing and updating physical building security throughout the district. We have not received a timeline for when any changes might be made to our building. On a daily basis, we do have many adult eyes on our perimeter and in our building. We are able to receive and send direct communications with our district safety and security office, who are also in direct communication with local first responders. A district security team member is in our neighborhood and available to us at any time. We have two entry points for the community into our building: the front door across from the kindergarten playground and the rear delivery door by the office. Other doors are secured during instructional time. All visitors to our building are asked to sign-in at the office and receive a visitor badge or label. Thank you to all of you for following this procedure, even if you are in our building on a daily basis.
We perform monthly safety drills at View Ridge. These are combination of teaching and practicing, as well as assessing readiness in the case of a real emergency. Our drill schedule is aligned with state and district expectations:
September – Evacuation
October – Earthquake
November – Lock down/ Shelter-in-place
December – Evacuation
January – Shelter-in-place
February – Evacuation
March – Lock-down
April – Earthquake
May – Reverse Evacuation
June – To be announced
Thanks again to our entire community for supporting our students and creating a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can learn. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Mr. Roos will also be available for questions at the next Principal’s Coffee on Monday, December 3 at 8:00 a.m.
View Ridge Elementary School