Lynden Schools updating safety procedures

Lynden Schools updating safety procedures
Posted on 02/20/2018

Lynden Schools continues to update and revise safety procedures and the latest update comes this spring in the way Lynden Schools handles parent reunification following an emergency event, whether an environmental hazard or outside threat.

In July 2016 Lynden Schools worked with the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a threat, vulnerability and security review, basically a “needs assessment to establish safe and secure learning,” says David VanderYacht, assistant superintendent. “We have been using that document as a guide to inform areas we wanted to strengthen.”

Parents are included in the next update, the reunification process. Once critical aspect of crisis response is accountable reunification of students with their parents or guardians. A predetermined, practice reunification method is essential for not further complicating what is likely a chaotic, anxiety-filled scene, according to the district.

VanderYacht says the school district has partnered with nonprofit I Love You Guys to use their materials in this area. The district’s safety team has drafted updated procedures and will use that draft as part of a tabletop exercise in February to refine and tweak them before communicating the updates to parents this spring.

The final work will develop a pre-determined, practiced reunification plan schools can use for on-site and off-site release of students to parents, guardians and emergency contacts. “We don’t want to contribute to the chaos,” VanderYacht says.

As Lynden Schools readies the updated procedures, VanderYacht encourages families to maintain an accurate emergency contact list with the schools, updated either through the Family Access program or via the school office.