Safety Plans at all Orinda Schools

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(Andrea Madison, Photographer)
In the wake of the tragic shooting at Robb Elementary school in Uvalde, TX, Orinda Union School District maintains its response plan to an intruder on campus.

    In light of the May 24 mass shooting at an Uvalde, TX, elementary school, the Orinda Union School District (OUSD) remains prepared for lockdowns in the case of an intruder at any of its campuses, which includes four elementary and one middle school.
    “Even prior to the Uvalde shooting we had committed to reviewing and revising our safety plans during this upcoming year,” said OUSD Superintendent Aida Glimme of the district’s emergency procedures. All campuses have annual “active shooter” drills, said Glimme, and all school staff is trained in the matter.
    “The drill is not necessarily called that in front of our youngest students, as that could be rather traumatic, but the practice of lockdown is the same,” Glimme said.
    The incident at Robb Elementary School in Texas is one of 27 school shootings so far this year, as reported by NPR-KQED. Nineteen children and two adults were killed and 17 others were injured when 18-year-old Salvador Ramos entered the school and opened fire.
    OUSD schools have “uniform emergency procedures, which were created in collaboration with local law enforcement and firefighters and are based upon nationwide best practices,” according to the district’s website.
    In the case of an intruder, entailing a lockdown and/or the securing of a school campus, OUSD procedures direct those on campus to call 911 and announce the emergency over the school announcement system. The securing of all students and staff in safe locations or the employment of “run, hide, fight protocol” are also listed in OUSD’s lockdown procedures.
    Each OUSD school site has a comprehensive safety plan, updated annually by each school site council and reviewed by the local police and fire department, as explained by OUSD’s Emergency Procedures webpage.
    The Board of Trustees must also approve the plan. School staff is assigned to roles, such as search and rescue and communications.
    “The Orinda Police Department is asked to participate as observers of various drills and to be knowledgeable of our campuses, which they are,” said Glimme.
    Every school year, OUSD practices all emergency procedures with staff and students on a regular basis, with the elementary schools practicing campus lockdown at least once per year and twice per year at the secondary level, according to the procedures information 
page.
    All elementary schools and Orinda Intermediate also feature assigned employees that “monitor the campus and ensure safety.”
    District schools maintain a three-day emergency supply for staff and students, which includes food, water, first aid supplies and other necessities, as explained by district’s procedures page.
    The OUSD emergency procedures page states the district utilizes the SchoolMessenger system, which simultaneously delivers text message, email and phone notifications when an emergency occurs. Parents and family members can opt-in to this notification system by texting “Y” to 67587.
    To prepare for a possible emergency situation during school hours, OUSD recommends parents of students program their child’s school telephone number into their cell phone and make sure to include a local trusted emergency contact, other than themselves, on their child’s emergency card.
    Contacting the school office immediately to update any changes to a student’s emergency contacts is another way in which parents can help.
    OUSD also recommends parents reinforce with their child that they are to follow any school staff directions given to them during an emergency.
    Orinda Union School District’s full emergency procedures, including the handling of school campus intruders as well as wildfires, earthquakes and shelter-in-place orders, are on its website http://www.orindaschools.org, under the “Parents and Community” drop-down 
menu.
    NPR-KQED reported as of May 25, the U.S. has seen 212 mass shootings, with the Uvalde incident happening only 10 days after a shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo, NY which killed 10 people.
    According to Education Week, which has tracked shootings at schools in the country since 2018, 119 school shootings have occurred in the past five years, with 2021 having a record 34 incidents.
    Speaking on OUSD’s plans to review and revise school safety plans during this upcoming year, Glimme said, “The purpose of the revision was to make them more accessible to the public as the format is very cumbersome, but now this will give us an opportunity to also further examine our procedures and protocols.”

Andrea Madison can be reached at drea.madison.05@gmail.com.

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