August 24, 2008

Sources, Terms Provided for Home Preparedness

Virginia Beach City Public Schools takes pride in creating safety measures to protect students in schools and on school buses.

Safe environments are important in providing an atmosphere conducive to learning for students, faculty, staff and parents.

Because safety is a priority, the school division operates under a comprehensive Emergency Response Plan.

The plan was developed as the result of partnerships between the system's Office of Safe Schools and Risk Management and local, state and federal law enforcement and emergency agencies.

The plan covers a wide variety of emergencies and serves as a guide to help staff and our public safety partners respond swiftly should a crisis occur in our schools.

Should a school emergency, closing or cancellation occur, parents will be notified by phone and e-mail via the school division's parent notification system, AlertNow.

The phone call/message or e-mail delivered to parents will inform them of the most current information available . If it is an ongoing event, updates will be provided sent to parents using AlertNow.

Parents may also use these resources as an additional source of information:

* Call the VBCPS Emergency Hotline at 263-1000 (Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.; answered by school staff)

* Visit

During an emergency school situation, it is important that parents are familiar with these terms:

* Internal lockdown: all school interior doors are locked and students are confined to their classrooms. No entry or exit of the school is allowed.

This takes place if there is a threat or possible threat inside the school. During an internal lockdown, the school's main entrance doors will be locked and a sign will be posted on the front door indicating that the school is in an internal lockdown.

If there is no admittance to the building, parents/caregivers will be referred to the VBCPS Emergency Hotline at 263-1000 for information regarding this incident.

* External lockdown: all school exterior doors are locked. This takes place if the threat is outside of the school.

If the situation allows, parents/caregivers could be admitted into the school with proper identification.

If it is deemed safe for parents/caregivers to enter the building, they will need to show a proper form of identification such as a driver's license, military ID, VBCPS school ID or other valid photo identification.

* Shelter-in-place: means selecting small, interior rooms in the school, with no or few windows, and taking refuge there until it is safe to release students.

This is a precaution aimed to keep students safe from hazardous materials that may have been released into the atmosphere. (This is not the same thing as going to a shelter in case of a storm.)

This procedure is implemented if it is determined that evacuation or dismissal could possibly place students at risk.

Ensuring school safety is everyone's responsibility -staff, students, parents and the entire community. Please report any safety concerns you have to the school principal. Additional school safety information can be found on

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