December 12, 2017
I am writing to share with you some information about an emergency response that occurred at the high school this morning, to describe some of our district safety protocols and to ask for your ongoing support now and during any future emergencies.
This morning, high school students followed a “Shelter-in-Place” protocol and then relocated to the middle school for a brief period of time while State Police, Coeymans Police and the Albany Sheriff Department investigated an unattended bag that was discovered in a conspicuous location. After examination, the contents of the bag were determined to be completely non-threatening. Students then returned to their regularly scheduled classes.
Each year, the district reviews and amends a comprehensive safety plan for each school building. These plans are developed in consultation with local and state safety experts, law enforcement and District staff members for use during emergency events. Students and staff are aware of these plans and regularly practice emergency drills, such as “Shelter-in-Place,” “Lock-down,” “Evacuation,” “Relocation,” and “Lockout” multiple times throughout the year. Rehearsing these responses ensures that we are able to perform as needed, when needed.
We are proud of how our students and staff responded today, their due diligence in adhering to our safety procedures was key to an efficient and safe response. We also want to thank the Albany County Sheriffs, State Police and Coeymans Police for their quick response and for assisting us in this matter.
Our communication to families this morning was delayed, primarily because we were seeking confirmation of facts from first responders in order to share accurate information. However, we realize that in today’s very connected world, many families knew from their own children that there was something happening within minutes of a “Shelter-in-Place”
being called. The delay in communication on our part caused some unnecessary concern and, in the future, we will share information more quickly, even if initially incomplete, with updates as needed. Our goal is to keep you informed when we have activated an emergency response plan; ensuring the safety of all children.
In these types of emergency situations, it is imperative that we are able to monitor the safety of all children. Our safety plans require that students remain with our trained staff members and are accounted for during each step of the process.
We ask that parents and guardians be mindful of our process and that we are unlikely to release students in the midst of an emergency event. This is to ensure the safety of all students and staff. We will communicate both during and after an event and will notify parents via the RCS website and the School News Notifier (SNN) regarding parent pick-up, if necessary.
We continuously fine-tune and practice our safety protocols and, although a false alarm, we are again grateful for the quick and efficient response of staff, students, and first responders this morning.