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When An Emergency Happens At School

Safety Information for Parents/Guardians

(PDF icon PDF of "When An Emergency Happens At School" brochure)

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Keeping your child safe at school is a top priority!

Emergencies happen, therefore, we must be prepared to make certain our school climate promotes safety as well as learning and student success. Parents/guardians, faculty/staff, and students must work together to ensure a safe and secure environment. The following tips will help you take an active role in keeping our schools safe.

Practicing Drills. When responding to an emergency at school, all students, faculty, and staff follow specific protocols or procedures based on the type of emergency situation such as fire, tornado, or intruder. Various drills are practiced throughout the year so those in the building are prepared to respond quickly and appropriately to any emergency at school.

Responding. Rockdale County Public Schools follows the National Incident Management System (NIMS) when responding to emergencies. NIMS provides the foundation for planning that enables the school system to work with first responders (law enforcement, fire, EMS and others) to prepare for, prevent, respond to, recover from, and lessen the effects of incidents, regardless of cause, size, location, or complexity to reduce loss and/or harm. Emergency responders, school administrators, government, community, business leaders, parents, and students assist with the development and maintenance of our emergency preparedness plans. Using Plain Language. When notifying faculty, staff, students, and visitors in our schools of an emergency situation, our administrators use plain language rather than codes to alert everyone of the situation and instruct them how to respond. This eliminates any confusion and prompts an orderly response.

When an emergency happens at school . . .

Your first reaction may to be call or rush to your child’s school. However, that may not be the safest option for you OR your child. To assure that school staff and first responders are able to address the emergency, please follow these tips:

Listen for a call from the school system’s automated telephone system. A message will be sent alerting parents/guardians of the emergency and how best to respond. (Be sure your contact information is current at your school.)

Check the school system’s website. Alerts and information will be posted for parents and students. 

Please do not call your child’s cell phone or send a text. This may impact emergency responders’ ability to communicate properly with one another. 

Please do not go to the school unless instructed. Additional traffic may hinder the movement of emergency vehicles.

Be sure to have appropriate identification: driver’s license, passport, etc. when picking up your child at school or at an alternate site. 

Check with school officials before removing your child from campus.

What Parents/Guardians Can Do NOW to Enhance their Children’s Safety at School

Contact your school to ensure they have your current and accurate contact/emergency information. (This includes daytime phone numbers and names of adults authorized to pick up your child in an emergency.) 

Always stop by the school’s front office for a visitor’s pass upon entering the school building AND be prepared to show your Driver’s License or photo identification.

Be certain that the school has current medical information about your child.

Do not park in emergency lanes at school.

See something, say something. Encourage your child to report safety violations, threats, or incidents of bullying to a trusted adult.

Be sure you and your child review and discuss the RCPS Discipline Code of Conduct.

Learn about the protocols and procedures used at your child’s school in the event of an emergency such as evacuation, lockdown, and shelter-in-place.

Keep your child at home if he/she is running a fever and keep him/her at home for 24 hours after the fever. Visit for more health and safety information.

Have a family emergency plan and be sure that your child knows what to do and who to go to for assistance should an emergency occur at home.

Safety Protocols and Procedures

Preventive Lockdown
All exterior and main interior doors are locked, students remain in class, classroom instruction continues, and movement within the building is minimized. Used to rapidly enhance the level of security in the facility, generally when a threat is “in the area.”

Emergency Lockdown 
All exterior and main interior doors are locked, everyone in the building seeks as much physical safety from assault as possible by using barriers to sight and physical barriers, no movement within the building unless instructed by administration or law enforcement. Used in response to an actual emergency situation to dramatically and rapidly enhance the level of security in the facility.

Everyone in the building quickly exits and is directed to pre-determined sites on the school campus. Used for any emergency evacuation.

Reverse Evacuation
Everyone outside the facility moves back into the building. Used to return students and staff back into the building following an evacuation or to quickly move students into the building when a threat occurs such as bad weather while they are outside the building.

Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are secured in the building and all attempts are made to seal off all doors, windows, vents, etc. to keep contaminants out of the room/building. Used when there has been a chemical or biological release or radiological incident outside of, but close to a school and available information indicates that there is not enough time to evacuate the building to a safer location.

Tornado/Severe Weather
Students, faculty, staff, and visitors are instructed to move to interior sites within the building away from windows and doors and to position themselves safely against a wall. Used when there has been a tornado warning or other severe weather situation.

Important Numbers and Websites

Emergency Services

Centers for Disease Control

Rockdale County Public Schools

Rockdale County Sheriff’s Office

City of Conyers Police

It is the policy of Rockdale County Public Schools not to discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, color, age, religion, national origin, or disability in educational programs, activities, or employment policies and practices.

(PDF of "When An Emergency Happens At School" brochure)