JM Emergency Preparedness
If an earthquake or other emergency occurs, school is one of the safest places where students can be. Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School has a disaster preparedness plan. Teachers, administrators and other staff members are trained to supervise and care for students. School buildings are usually safer than homes because they are constructed to meet strict public safety standards.
Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School subscribes to a service known as School Messenger. We will use this service to contact all parents via e-mail and telephone within a matter of moments in case of an emergency. Please ensure that all contact information remains current with the office staff.
Is JM storing extra food, water and supplies for an emergency?
JM stores supplies and equipment and will be a 3-day food and water supply inventory. We will also rely on food, water and supplies form neighborhood homes, and if necessary, local grocery stores.
How are teachers and staff prepared for an emergency?
In the event that children must remain in school during an emergency, teachers will conduct lessons and class time as usual. Dependent upon their safety, children will be allowed to move about the buildings as long as they are out of harm’s way. All non-teaching staff members will provide support and resources as needed, including extra supervision of students and assistance with phone calls and communication activities with parents and emergency personnel. The principal has discussed the district’s emergency response plans with faculty and staff.
How will the school respond to an emergency?
When the Superintendent or designee determines that an emergency has occurred, there are five possible plans of action:
1. Go-Home Plan: Returns students to their home and family as quickly as possible. Each school maintains information for each child’s emergency contacts. It is important to advise the school office if the name or number of a contact person changes. The school will not, under any circumstances, release a student to anyone who has not been authorized by the parent or guardian. Students are never returned to an unoccupied or unsupervised home. If there is no one at home to meet a student, the child is returned to his or her school and held until a parent or authorized adult picks the child up.
2. Shelter Plan: Keeps students in their buildings when it is safer to stay inside than to go out. Ordinarily, sheltering is considered a short-term solution, but each school is prepared to keep students beyond normal dismissal if necessary. Specific areas of each building are identified as the safest for occupants. A part of the shelter plan will be a Stay-Put plan. In this instance, all students will remain in their current classroom until otherwise notified. Students who are not in classrooms (recess, P.E., etc.) will be escorted by staff to a supervised area and remain there until otherwise notified.
3. Evacuation Plan: Requires that all building occupants leave and go to an alternate location. Evacuation may mean only going outside and away from the building until an all-clear signal is given. In some circumstances, students and staff may need to be transported and housed temporarily in another location until the Go-Home Plan can be put into operation.
4. Lockout Plan: Allows no unauthorized personnel into the buildings. All exterior doors are locked and administrators and/or designated staff monitor main entrance. This procedure allows the school to continue with the normal school day, but curtails outside activity. This procedure is most commonly used when an incident is occurring outside the school buildings, on or off school property.
5. Lockdown Plan: An immediate and imminent threat to the school building population. Staff and students are secured in the rooms they are currently in and no one is allowed to leave until the situation has been curtailed. This allows the school to secure everyone and remove them from immediate danger. This plan is used most commonly when the building has an intruder.
If there is an evacuation where will students go?
In the event that students must be moved to an alternate location, the school will attempt to reach all parents to advise them of the alternate location site. Planned locations may include the back fields or church parking lot across the street.
- Students who leave school
If it is necessary for students to leave school due to an emergency, school staff will follow a developed plan to make sure that each child is released at a specified location on campus to a parent(s) or guardian(s), relative or other person designated by the parent.
- Students who remain at school
If a parent/guardian or designee cannot pick up children for an extended period of time, students will remain under supervision until the parent/guardian arrives at school. However, children should be picked up as soon as possible. If necessary, students may be moved to another school or an off-campus site for greater safety.
Are there emergency planning drills?
Yes, drills are conducted at various times during the school year in order to give students and staff practice in what to do during an emergency. Fire drills are held at least 4 times. Earthquake drills and an intruder drills are held annually. Additional drills and simulations may be conducted by each school’s emergency team – under the direction of the principal – throughout the year. The District believes that response is best when everybody knows their role and has had an opportunity to practice.
Should I pick up my child during an emergency?
We strongly encourage parents NOT to come to the school during an emergency unless directed to do so. While every person’s natural instinct in an emergency is to go to the school to safeguard his/her child, please understand that doing so may significantly reduce the school’s ability to respond to the situation. In addition, going to the school may interfere with police or other emergency workers whose sole purpose is to assure the safety and well being of students and staff. Vehicles driven to the school, for example, may restrict access for emergency vehicles and/or school buses that are loading children for evacuation or to take them home. The school’s staff will be actively working at all times to ensure the safety of all students. While it may seem logical that every student taken home by a parent reduces the workload of the staff, in a fast-moving crisis that requires careful coordination and communication, extra vehicles and visitors to the school may actually make the task of keeping track of all students exceptionally difficult and potentially dangerous.
Where can I get information during an emergency?
Chances are that you may not be able to reach the school by telephone in a real emergency. Past experiences indicate that staff must react to the emergency first. District telephone lines will be busy with personnel who need to communicate with emergency services. Therefore, it is important that you do not try calling the school. The District’s web site, www.moraga.k12.ca.us will post updates throughout the course of an emergency. If necessary, the news media will be contacted and kept up-to-date on all developments, and will be asked to broadcast important information. We will, however, be making every effort to contact parents, using the School Messenger system. Principals have a separate copy of every child’s contact information that they will keep with them during an emergency. The Superintendent and/or principal may ask the PTA to assist in disseminating information. Do not call 911 for information as this is meant for reporting emergencies only.