Frequently Asked Questions: Emergency preparedness

  • The school district and all schools have safety and security plans that contain procedures to be implemented in the event of a natural disaster or man-made emergency situation. These plans have been developed in collaboration with local public safety officials.

    What is emergency preparedness?

    Vashon Island School District has developed an emergency response plan to ensure your child's safety while in school or on a school bus. This plan outlines specific responses that schools will take in the event of an emergency situation such as an evacuation or a lock-down. Staff members have assigned roles and duties that are detailed in the plan. The district has conducted drills for responding to a number of potential emergencies in conjunction with the King County Police Department, Vashon Island Fire and Rescue and Vashon Be Prepared.

    How will my children know what to do in the event of an emergency?

    If an emergency occurs during school hours, classroom teachers will provide students with appropriate instructions. Additionally, school officials may provide students with instructions or information about the emergency through the school public address system. Each month, students practice for emergency situations such as fire, earthquake or intruder and are very familiar with school emergency responses.

    What should parents/guardians do in the event of an emergency?

    If an emergency occurs during school hours please do not come to the school in order to enable first responders have free and clear access to the campus. In rushing to the school, you may put yourself in danger and become a part of the problem. Instead, we ask you to be patient and follow updates that will be posted on the district website, emailed to our contact list and through text alerts (to sign up for text alerts follow this link).

    What is a lock down or modified lock down?

    In a lockdown, exterior and interior doors are locked. Students are told to stay away from windows and to keep low. Curtains or blinds are closed. Lights are off. Only quiet talking is allowed. Students who are outside at recess or in a PE class enter back into the building. No one is allowed into or out of the building until the lock down has been lifted. Staff has been trained to take the situation very seriously, with an assumption that an intruder could actually be in the building.
    A modified lockdown takes similar precautions but allows more movement within the building. Students may continue to work at their desks with lights on. They may go to the restroom. No one, however, may enter or leave the building including staff, students and parents. In the event of a lock down parents are asked to not come to school.

    What is a parent-child reunion site?

    If school or public safety officials require that a school building be evacuated during an emergency situation, students will be transported to a reunion site. At the reunion site, students will be released to their parents or others authorized to pick them up upon presentation of proper identification.  Parents will be informed of the reunion site situation through the school email, district website and text alert system (click here to sign up for text alerts).

    Parent-child reunion sites are as follows:

    • Chautauqua Elementary and McMurray Middle School: Vashon Island Community Church located at 9318 SW Cemetery Road (directly across the street from the entrance to school campus).
    • Vashon Island High School: LDS Church at 9330 SW 204th Street (About 1/8 mile East of the high school campus on the North side of 204th).

    Who can pick up my children?

    Children will be released to individuals who are authorized on the student's emergency care card or have prior written parent authorization. Schools will also require photo identification when the child is released at the parent-child reunion site.
    Parents and guardians are responsible for the accuracy of the information on their child’s emergency care card. If parents have not completed a card, they need to do so. If their information has changed, parents need to update the information.

    What if my child is a commuter and I can’t pick them up?

    We ask that commuter families arrange for their student(s) to have a designated Vashon Island contact that is authorized to pick up their child. The name and contact information for this individual needs to be in your child’s file. Please make sure this contact is current and aware of their role in the event of a school emergency.

    What if my child is riding a school bus at the time of an emergency?

    School bus drivers are in constant radio communication with our Transportation Department. In the event that an emergency occurs while students are in transport, drivers will be notified to respond appropriately. Buses will be rerouted or may delay arrival or departure to avoid traveling toward the emergency situation such as a school lockdown. When traffic and safety conditions allow, buses may be rerouted to a parent-child reunion site (as described above).

    What about my child's medication?

    If your child requires daily medications that are necessary for chronic or severe medical conditions such as seizures, severe asthma or allergies, parents should make sure that the school has a three day dosage of additional medication. Talk with your child's school nurse for more information.

    How do students and staff respond to an Earthquake?

    Each month, students and staff practice “Drop, Cover and Hold” as a response to earthquake.
    What Does It Mean?
    Drop – under something sturdy and taller than you are
    Cover – the back of your head and neck with one arm
    Hold on – in case the thing you’re under moves
    Close your eyes – protect your eyes
    In the event of an earthquake or situation that makes it unsafe to be inside of a school building, students will be moved outside to a predetermined “safe” area.

    Earthquake safe areas are as follows:

    • Chautauqua Elementary School: McMurray field
    • McMurray Middle School: McMurray field
    • Vashon Island High School: VHS stadium field
    For a brochure about earthquake information: Earthquakes in Washington (printable brochure)
    For more information about emergency and earthquake preparedness, visit these Web sites:
    FEMA Earthquake Preparedness
    Red Cross Earthquake Preparedness Information

    What happens if there is Pandemic Flu?

    An influenza pandemic occurs when a new influenza A virus emerges for which there is little or no immunity in the human population, begins to cause serious illness and then spreads easily person-to-person worldwide. Part of preparedness is maintaining overall good health and using basic prevention measures such as covering your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze and washing your hands often. In the event of a pandemic flu event the District will comply with instructions issued by the King County County Health Department.