A critical ingredient in the safe school recipe is the classroom response to an incident at school. Weather events, fire, accidents, intruders and other threats to student safety are scenarios that are planned and trained for by students, teachers, staff, and administration.
Should an emergency or disaster situation ever arise in our area while school is in session, we want you to be aware that the schools have made preparations to respond effectively to such situations. In fact, public schools in New Mexico are built to meet stringent construction standards, and they may be safer than your own home in the event of a disaster.
Should we have a major disaster during school hours, your student(s) will be cared for at this school. Los Alamos Public Schools have detailed emergency response plans, which have been formulated to respond to a major catastrophe. While the specific details of these plans cannot be made public, we will provide any information necessary for your emergency planning needs and peace of mind, in case of an emergency. After you have thoughtfully reviewed this process, please sit with your child(ren) and help them to understand that it is necessary for them to follow the directions of any school personnel in times of an emergency drill or actual emergency situation. The safety of all depends on all personnel and students treating drills and emergency directions with serious respect.
Your cooperation is necessary in any emergency:
1. Do not telephone the school. You can receive updated information through an emergency communication system, provided by the school district and Los Alamos County. Telephone lines may be needed for emergency communication.
2. In the event of a serious emergency, students will be kept at their schools until they can be picked up by an identified, responsible adult who has been listed as such on a LAPS emergency card, which is required to be completed by parents/guardians at the beginning of each school year. Please be sure you consider the following criteria when you authorize another person to pick up your child at school:
○ S/He is 18 years of age or older.
○ S/He is usually home during the day.
○ S/He could walk to school, if necessary.
○ S/He is known to your child.
○ S/He is both aware and able to assume this responsibility.
During an extreme emergency, students will be released at designated reunion sites, to be identified by the Incident Commander and located on school campuses. Please instruct your student to remain at the school until you or your designee arrives.
3. Turn your radio to AM 1610 for emergency announcements. If students are to be kept at school, radio stations will be notified. If electrical service is not affected, information will be relayed via LAPS to the radio and television broadcast media. In addition, information regarding day-to-day school operations will be available by accessing our website, or subscribing to our E-Alerts web-based system. All sites have hotline numbers, which will be updated.
4. In the event that any emergency takes place during the time that students expect to be transported to or from school:
○ If students are on the bus at the time, they will be kept on the bus, and the driver will ask for assistance through radio contact with the school and district personnel.
○ Any child who is home waiting for the bus will not be picked up and remains the responsibility of the parent or guardian.
○ In any situation, if the student’s bus does not arrive at the stop within fifteen (15) minutes, the student should return home.
○ In the event that an emergency occurs in the afternoon, the driver will make every attempt to continue delivering the students to their homes. Should road conditions prevent the driver from delivering students to their home or to school in the morning, the students will be delivered to the nearest district site, and that site’s personnel will communicate with home school personnel to inform them of the students’ whereabouts.
5. In case of a hazardous release event (i.e. chemical spill) near the school area, Shelter procedures will be implemented to provide “in place” protection. All students and staff will clear the fields, report to their rooms, and all efforts will be made to prevent outside air from entering the classrooms during the emergency. “Shelter-In-Place” signs will be placed in classroom windows or hung outside classroom doors during a drill or emergency. Students arriving at school during a Shelter drill or event should report to the school office or to a previously designated area at the school because classrooms will be inaccessible. When the dangerous incident has subsided, an “all clear” signal will be given.
In the case of a county-wide evacuation, which would include the schools, that evacuation would proceed in accordance with the protocols established in the Los Alamos County Emergency Operations Plan. Please access the County’s website for this county-wide evacuation plan.
Parental Roles in Emergency Preparedness
● Discuss the Standard Response Protocol with your child(ren)
● Please make sure to update your student’s school emergency card. Call or come by the school to update. Remember to update again when necessary.
● Sign up for E-Alerts on the school and district websites. You’ll be notified by email whenever an emergency results in a delay, cancellation, or early dismissal.
● As part of your family plan, know your student’s schedule. Please check the accuracy of this schedule with your child.
● Parents with students currently taking emergency medication (i.e. medication for diabetes, seizures, anaphylaxis, asthma, etc.), please provide the nurse with a three-day supply of medication in a prescription container that is clearly marked with your child’s name and dosage. Please include doctor’s orders for the prescription and parental permission for a dispensation of the medication and any special storage instructions.
● Notify and provide the school with the special dietary needs of your student.
You might want to think about having your student have a change of clothes and personal hygiene articles (toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, contact lens kit) in their locker.
Please discuss these matters with your immediate family. Planning ahead will help alleviate concern during emergencies.