Safety is more important now more than ever with the increasing spread of COVID-19. It was announced at the beginning of the school year by Bellwood-Antis Superintendent Dr. Thomas McInroy that “our number one priority is the safety and welfare of our students and staff.”
Almost three years ago, the security team, consisting of Jeff Hanna and Tim Mercer, was established to reinforce the safety of the district.
Mercer and Hanna’s current project is preparing an instructional video to educate students on the new safety plan. The plan lays out procedures for emergencies in school and establishes common terminology for each procedure.
“Safety at our school is all our responsibility,” Mercer said. “If you see something or someone that looks suspicious or out of the ordinary, notify security officers or a teacher immediately.”
The terms they would like to address are below:
EVACUATION: Evacuation is used when students and staff must leave the building due to a fire or other emergency. The reason for the evacuation, if known, will also be announced over the public address system.
REVERSE EVACUATION: This would be used to have all students and staff outside of the buildings return inside immediately if and when there was a potential threat in the community. For example, a reverse evacuation would be issued if a prisoner escapee was being sought by police.
SHELTER IN PLACE: Used primarily for a weather-related event. All students and staff are to proceed immediately to the second floor of the high school building until further notice during this time. An example of when a shelter in place would be issued is if there were to be a train derailment near Bellwood involving rail cars carrying chlorine gas.
SOFT LOCKDOWN: This is announced when we have a threat outside of our building in the community. During a soft lock down, all students and staff must remain inside the building. Reverse evacuations may be necessary to execute this process. All exterior doors are locked and no visitors are allowed to enter the building at this time. All other operations remain the same inside the building, including the change of classes at the end of each period.
HARD LOCKDOWN: This would be announced when there are locker searches involving police canines, or medical personnel rendering aid to someone in the hallway. All students and staff remain in their current classroom during this time. This is so they are not exposed to these situations. Teaching continues within the classroom and may extend into the next period, depending on the duration of the incident.
INTRUDER: RUN, HIDE, FIGHT: TThis announcement would be made if there was imminent danger in the building. As the phrase implies, all students and staff are to evacuate, if possible, hide silently in a safe place, or take action to interrupt or incapacitate the intruder. Teachers and staff have participated in intruder: run, hide, fight training in January and February of 2020.