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Latest News from the desk of Ms. Sliney 10/6/2017

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Dear Parents,

Each year, in partnership with the Archdiocese and our local NYPD precinct, School of the Blessed Sacrament develops emergency plans that take effect should a crisis occur during school hours. Although we continue to pray for peace and safety daily, we are prepared to do all that we can to keep the children entrusted to our care as safe as possible.

Below are the emergency plans for SBS in the case of an Evacuation, a Shelter-in-Place, or a Lockdown. Additionally, there are resources I hope you will find useful in speaking to your children about emergencies and the drills they will practice at school.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions or would like to speak further about safety and security at Blessed Sacrament.

Sincerely,
Ms. Sliney
 
In the case of any emergency situations outlined below, Blessed Sacrament staff would alert families of the situation, location of children, and instructions via the IRIS alert system.

On Monday, October 16, there will be a test of the IRIS Alert system. If you do not receive an alert on that day, please reach out to the school office.

Evacuation
This is a plan in case of a fire, bomb, or other hazards inside SBS. All faculty, staff, students, and visitors would calmly and quietly exit the building via the practiced exit routes. If the emergency requires us to leave the W 70th Street block, the evacuation locations are:
Site A (North) –
PS 334 100 W 77th St/Columbus Ave
212-595-7193
 
Site B (South) –
LaGuardia High School 100 Amsterdam Ave/ W 65th Street
212- 496-0700
 
Site C (East) –
St. Stephen of Hungary 400 E 82nd Street/ 1st Avenue
212-228-1989
 
Site D (West) –
PS 199 270 W 70th/ West End
212-799-1033
 
 

Once at the appropriate location, teachers would take attendance and report to administration and emergency point personnel. An IRIS alert would notify families of the situation and communicate parent instructions.

Shelter-in-Place
This is a plan for environmental or other hazard (ie earthquake) outside SBS. All faculty, staff, students, and visitors would duck, cover, and hold in silence. Teachers would take attendance and report to administration and emergency point personnel. An IRIS alert would notify families of the situation and communicate parent instructions.

Lockdown
This is a plan for an intruder inside the school. Faculty would be notified to execute practiced lockdown protocols. All doors remain locked, lights are turned off and children are moved to an area out of site within the room. Teachers would then take attendance and report necessary information to administration and emergency point personnel. An IRIS alert would notify families of the situation and communicate parent instructions.
 
Practice and Preparation at SBS
In order to ensure that all community members are prepared for an emergency, SBS conducts routine drills and practices. In the case of a crisis, we want children, faculty and parents to act prepared, not scared.

In accordance with the fire department guidelines, we have had 4 fire drills thus far, and will have a total of 12 throughout the year.

We will also conduct 4 lockdown drills this year to ensure that in a dangerous situation classrooms are secure and children are safe. The first of these drills will be Friday, October 13th. In order to ensure authentic practice, after our first lockdown drill, practices will not be announced.
 
Talking to children about emergency situations can be scary and challenging. Below are resources for parents to read and share with their families as we work to help our students understand why it is important to practice safety drills and ensure that our school is always a safe place.

Helpful Guidelines to Keep in Mind
When Talking with Children about School Safety

(from Healthychildren.org)

For some children, even participation in a drill may cause some emotional distress, especially if it reminds them of a prior crisis event or if they otherwise are feeling vulnerable or anxious. As a parent, you are in the best position to help your child cope. Any conversation with a child must be developmentally appropriate.

  • Young children need brief simple information that should be balanced with reassurance. This includes informing children that their school and home are safe (once these are secure) and that adults are available to protect them. Young children often gauge how threatening or serious an event is by adult reactions. This is why, for example, parents are encouraged not to get overly emotional when saying goodbye on the first day of school. Young children respond well to basic assurance by adults and simple examples of school safety, like reminding them the exterior doors are locked.
  • Upper elementary and early middle school children may​ be more vocal in asking questions about whether they are truly safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Parents can share the information they have about the school's safety plan and any other relevant communication to ease their child's mind.  
  • Upper middle school and high school students may have strong and varying opinions about causes of violence in school and society. Parents should stress the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following the school's safety guidelines (e.g., not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, reporting threats to school safety made by students or community members, etc.).
How to Talk to Your Children About a Lockdown
Helping Prepare Your Children for School Lockdown Drills
Talking to Kids in an Age of Lockdowns
Book Recommendations for Safety Drills from Bank Street College