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Safety and Dismissal Changes

posted Aug 19, 2018, 6:59 AM by Lori Komassa   [ updated Aug 28, 2018, 12:31 PM by Geeta Suggs ]
Safety of our students is the top priority at Oak Hill Elementary. In order to make sure we are providing the safest environment possible, I met with the emergency management department of Austin ISD at the end of last school year to survey our building and safety procedures. As a result of this meeting, we will implement enhanced safety and security measures at Oak Hill Elementary School. The following procedures will begin this school year, 2018-2019:

HUG ZONE

Parents who wish to walk their children into the school building will now utilize the "Hug Zone” for drop-off. In the main building, the hallway in front of the office is designated for this purpose. In the annex, the front entryway by the annex office is designated for this purpose. After the first week of school, we ask that you use the “Hug Zone” to say your goodbyes before your child walks to class. No parent or family member will be allowed to escort their child to class after the 1st week of school in grades 1-5. PK and Kindergarten will restrict parents after the 3rd week of school to allow ample time for transition to the school environment. This will allow teachers to begin instruction immediately after announcements and allow staff to monitor who is in our building at all times.

DISMISSAL

Bus riders and car riders will use the same process for dismissal. Parents who wish to walk in to pick up their children, will wait outside the side gym door on the north side of the school. Students will be dismissed to the gym to sit down and wait to be called. Each parent will be given a pick up tag for their child, similar to our car pick up procedure. You MUST have this tag in order pick up your child. Below is the information and reminders from the dismissal procedures handout.
  • Park along School Road or in the non-numbered spots in back parking lot. 
  • DO NOT park in the bus lanes. 
  • MAIN BUILDING students will go to the gym and sit in their designated area. 
  • ANNEX students will be dismissed to the front porch of the annex building. 
  • Parents will wait OUTSIDE the gym door and students will be called using their pick up tag number.
  • Parents must show their pick up tag to the staff at the door for pick up. ID’s will be checked if you do not have a tag.
  • Please keep younger siblings/children next to you at all times. 
  • Use the sidewalk and paths to get back to your car safely. 

Also remember that no students will be dismissed from the bus line to parents and no students will be removed from a bus once they have gotten on the bus, except by an administrator.

VISITOR CHECK-IN POLICIES


All visitors must check in with the office, no exceptions. Below are our policies and guidelines for visitors.

● During school hours, all visitors must buzz in through the front door. Should someone knock on a side door asking to be let in and does not have a badge or visitor sticker, do not let them in. Ask them to go to the front office to check in first. Report any suspicious behavior to the office immediately. If anyone gets upset with you, please remind them that it’s for the safety of the students and that they may talk with administration if they have concerns.

● All visitors must sign in at the front office and obtain a visitor's sticker. Some volunteers may have an additional special badge that they wear while volunteering. District employees and subs don’t need to obtain a sticker, but they do need to have their badges displayed on their person. We have a new visitor check in system this year so EVERY parent will need to have their ID rescanned the first time they visit the campus this year.

● Parents may visit classrooms during the day only if they are volunteering. Visitors should not be loitering in the classroom unless they are actively helping the teacher; if a parent wishes to observe a class, they need to obtain written permission from an administrator. If a visitor is being distracting to the learning environment, please notify the office so that we can help.

● Students and staff will report suspicious persons or activities to the office immediately.

● Students are not released to parents or other custodial adults from the classroom. Parents or custodial adults can only obtain release of their students from the office and must complete the appropriate paperwork and confirmation of identification as required by the school.

● All visitors to the campus will be expected to follow all campus and district policies related to decorum and items that are not allowed on campus, including offensive clothing and behaviors.

● All visitors to Oak Hill are to park along School Road and not the parking lots (these are reserved for faculty & staff). No parking in the fire lanes or in areas that otherwise would block emergency vehicles. Parking along the front circle drive is allowed in non fire zones betwen 8:00am and 2:00pm only. Parking on Patton Ranch Road is not allowed.

● Faculty and staff must wear district identification when they are on campus or performing functions directly related to their district responsibilities.

VISIBILITY

We noticed many areas in the building where visibility of students was a concern. To remedy this, we have put up curtains or glass film in order to reduce that visibility. It was necessary to also reduce visibility to the hallways to allow students to move across the halls safely and quickly in the event of a lockdown.

LOCKDOWNS

Being an open concept campus provides many challenges in a lockdown situation. The emergency management department helped us to evaluate the building and made recommendations for the safest locations in a lockdown situation, which is behind a locked door. This is one of those challenges I mentioned, but using closets, bathrooms, and offices, we were able to find enough locked locations to have our students behind a locked door. Beginning this year, every classroom will be able to move safely and quickly to a location behind a locked door. We practice our lockdown drills once per semester and should their be a safety issue in the area, Austin ISD police notifies us and directs us to go on lockdown.

DRILLS

Austin ISD has adopted the Standard Response Protocol created by the I Love U Guys Foundation. The SRP provides clear language and concise instructions for teachers, students and school visitors in case of a critical incident on a campus.

The SRP uses five terms to address critical incidents:

• Lockdown: Locks, lights, out of sight.

• Lockout: Get inside. Lock outside doors.

• Hold: In your classroom. Clear the halls.

• Evacuate: to the designated location.

• Shelter: in the designated location.

Emergency drills are practiced according to the recommended schedule from the Austin ISD emergency management department. Evacuation drills are practiced monthly throughout the school year and all other drills are practiced once per semester.

GENERAL SECURITY

· Last year, we began closing and locking the door between the main office and the workroom. We will continue this security measure this year.

I know this is a lot of information to process and some of these changes will take a while to get used to and run smoothly. We appreciate your patience and support as we work to provide the safest and best school environment possible for our students.
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