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Emergency Preparedness

Both individual schools and the district have plans in place to make sure that emergency or crisis situations are handled effectively and efficiently. 

The districtwide plan is reviewed and updated on an ongoing basis. At the school level, each year schools establish an on‑site emergency team that includes school administrators and staff. Schools are also required to update their emergency safety plans following the School Emergency Management Guide, which are then reviewed and approved by the district’s Health and Safety Department. Schools are required to practice fire evacuation drills and various other drills throughout the year, so that staff and students are prepared to respond depending on the situation.

For more information about the emergency safety plan in place at your school, please contact the principal.

Communicating with parents

If there is an emergency, your school or the district will share information with parents through all available and appropriate channels, depending on the situation. These channels can include phone calls, text messages, website and social media updates,or announcements from local t.v. or radio stations.

It is absolutely essential that families ensure that their school has up‑to‑date contact information at all times, including emergency contact numbers, so that they can be reached with important information. You can check and update your contact information through Campus Portal.

Additional things to keep in mind:

  • Talk to your child about emergency preparations, and make sure he or she knows that there are plans in place at your school to ensure all students’ safety.
  • If you learn that there is an emergency situation, please do not go immediately to your school to pick up your child. In many cases, students are safest inside the building,or the building may be locked. Also, please do not call the school, because staff may need to keep phone lines open. Instead, wait to hear from City Schools about any action you should take.
  • If you are asked to pick up your child, either at the school or a different location, please follow instructions about pick‑up procedures, locations, parking, etc., closely. Remember to bring a photo ID with you, since children will be released only to adults authorized to pick them up.
  • In situations that include police response, communications may come from the Baltimore Police Department and be sent according to that agency’s policies and procedures.

Types of drills

The following drills are practiced in all schools, so that staff and students will be ready if there is ever a real emergency.

Evacuation: When it's safer outside the building (such as when there may be a fire, gas or chemical leak inside the building, or a bomb threat), staff and students gather at designated places outside the building

Alert: When there's police activity or a potentially dangerous situation in the neighborhood around the school, the doors are locked and staff and students stay inside (this is sometimes called a reverse alert or reverse evacuation)

Severe weather: When there is a weather warning (such as for a possible tornado), everyone moves quickly to the designated area in the building

Drop, cover, and hold: When there is an earthquake or other danger to the building structure, everyone takes cover under desks, tables, or other heavy furniture

Shelter in place: When there is a gas or chemical leak outside a building, everyone moves to a designate area in the building, away from the affected area

Lockdown: When there is a potential danger inside the building or outside on school grounds, all doors are locked, everyone moves to a classroom or other secure area and locks the doors, and staff and students stay together quietly in a protected area of the room