Frequently Asked Questions
How can I stay informed?
WWS has developed several avenues to keep parents and our community at large informed. We post announcements and emergency messages on our website (http://www.wws.k12.in.us/ ), Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/westfieldschools), and Twitter (@wwsweb). Emergency messages are sent to parents through our School Messenger phone/text/email service. Emergency messages are provided to local media, and parents are encouraged to listen to radio or television.
How will my child's school handle an emergency situation?
All WWS facilities have an emergency preparedness plan. The specifics of each plan differ for each location. The response to each situation is based on the specifics of that situation. The flexibility of the plan is key to the success of the response. All WWS emergency procedures have been reviewed within the last twelve months, and school crisis teams have received training.
Each school strictly follows all Indiana laws pertaining to when and how to conduct safety drills. Fire drills are conducted monthly with several variations added throughout the year such as drills during lunch, during passing period, with blocked exits, etc. Severe Weather and Lockdown drills are conducted twice per trimester. Bus evacuation, external lockdown (office administrative team only), and bomb threat (staff only) drills are conducted twice per year. A serious injury/illness drill is conducted once per year by the building administrative team.
What should I do if there is an emergency situation at my child’s school?
Trust your school and community emergency services personnel to do what is best for your child. Tell your child to stay in school and follow instructions. Students who leave school face greater risks, and the need to search for missing students can delay or impede safety procedures. Listen to radio and television for the latest information regarding the emergency, or follow your school’s procedures for receiving emergency information. Refrain from trying to retrieve your child from school. If necessary, students will be released to parents. However, in the interest of safety, it may be necessary to request identification to protect your child. Talk to your school principal or school resource officer about what you can do to support safe schools.
How can I see the security plan for my child's school?
WWS does not release this type of specific information, pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3-4. This law provides specific exclusions to the type of information that can be released. The District Crisis Manual includes a template which serves as the guide that schools use to construct their own site-specific plans in coordination with the WWS Safety Committee, building administrative team, and local emergency responders.
What is lockdown?
In an interior lock down, all students are kept in classrooms or other designated locations that are away from the danger. School personnel will also secure building entrances, ensuring that no unauthorized individuals leave or enter the building. This type of lockdown most typically occurs when there is an intruder in the building.
Exterior lock down procedures may also be used to ensure the safety of students when an incident occurs in the community. Parents are permitted access to the building through the main office only with identification, unless entry into the building is deemed unsafe by the Westfield Police Department, Westfield Fire Department, or WWS administrators.
What is shelter-in-place?
If an accident or some other incident creates contaminated air in the nearby area, everyone would be brought indoors, including those in external buildings. Building personnel would close all windows and doors and shut down the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system (HVAC). This would create a neutral pressure in the building, meaning the contaminated air would not be drawn into the building.
Shelter-in-place is a short-term measure (measured in minutes or hours, not days) designed to use a facility and its indoor atmosphere to temporarily separate people from a hazardous outdoor environment. The alternative would be to evacuate into a hazardous situation, thereby causing harm to all involved.
The duration of a shelter-in-place will be determined by local emergency personnel.
What is a parent reunification site?
If public safety officials require that a school building be evacuated, students and staff members will be safely transported by bus to a designated parent-student reunification center. Parents will be informed of the reunification location via the school website, social media, School Messenger, and local media. At the reunification center, students will be released to their parents upon presentation of proper identification.
Why can't I be given the evacuation and parent reunification locations ahead of time?
WWS does not release this type of specific information, pursuant to Indiana Code 5-14-3-4. This law provides specific exclusions to the type of information that can be released. Also, during emergency situations, circumstances could arise that might force changes to previously designated locations. Parents will be informed of the reunification location via the school website, social media, School Messenger, and local media.
Are schools stockpiling food and water?
The school system is taking action to make sure that schools and offices have the appropriate resources available for a short-term event. WWS Food Service has a Crisis Plan in place for such emergency situations. In the event of a large-scale catastrophic event, WWS would rely on federal and state authorities for assistance.
In all critical events of a greater magnitude, the school district becomes part of a larger emergency response team. The Hamilton County Emergency Management Director and the county crisis response team lead this team.
Does the school district have a food service crisis plan in place for such emergencies?
Most of the envisioned emergency situations would be localized short-term events and would not call for long-term supplies. However, WWS does have a Food Service Crisis Plan in place and updated annually by the Director of Food Service. This plan involves utilization of available food and drinks in each facility during this short-term crisis event.
What if my child is riding a school bus at the time of a crisis?
School bus drivers will be in contact with the Transportation Department for instructions in the event that a crisis occurs while students are in transport. Bus drivers will be informed to use common sense and not travel toward the crisis location. Parents will be informed via the school website, social media, School Messenger, and local media.
Can I pick up my child?
Parents are allowed to pick up their children with proper identification unless public safety officials have declared a shelter-in-place response, or there is some other reason why access to the facility is restricted. During any emergency, school personnel will maintain as safe and normal environment for children within the school as is possible. School is not automatically canceled in emergency situations. Remember, school may be the safest place for children.
Who can pick up my children?
Children may not be released to individuals who are not authorized on the student’s Student Information Form which lists emergency contacts or to those individual who do not have written parent authorization.
The Student Information Form is completed by parents and guardians at the start of each school year. Parents and guardians are encouraged to update the emergency contact information in PowerSchool within the Demographics Update icon as needed throughout the school year.
Friends and neighbors may sign a child or children out with written permission from a parent or parents. Both (or all) parents may give permission in writing for the sign out and pickup. Schools prefer to have written permission on the day that a child’s pickup will change, but schools may also keep written permission on file. School offices may keep the permission notes and are asked to attach them to the emergency care card(s) of those involved. Schools may also ask for identification when the child is released to the one(s) mentioned in the permission note. It is advisable to communicate with the teacher as well, perhaps with a copy of the signed written note.
What about my child's medication?
If your child takes medication regularly, you, the parent, should make sure that the school has an appropriate amount of additional medication on hand. Talk with your child’s school nurse for more information.
Can I contact my child?
Parents are asked not to call the school in emergency situations so phone lines can remain accessible for handling the specific situation. Parents will be informed via the school website, social media, School Messenger, and local media.
Will children be allowed to view events via live television or radio reports?
In the event of a state or national crisis, teachers will be informed as to the appropriate actions to take. Receiving live media coverage in the classroom about a crisis will be left up to the administrators’ and teachers’ discretion. Appropriate measures will be taken depending on the age of the students.