Crisis Management & School Emergency Guidelines
Bay City ISD is committed to the safety and security of its students and staff, as it is the top priority of the district. Bay City ISD has its own district police department with at least one officer on each campus at all times during school hours. Bay City ISD and the Bay City ISD Police Department have detailed emergency plans to respond to any crisis situation that could take place. In any potential or actual emergency event that could happen, campuses will follow the emergency plan procedures and remain under the guidance of the BCISD Police Department along with other local law agency partners. The BCISD Communications Department will work quickly to inform parents, staff, and the community of factual information pertaining to the current emergency situation, the procedures that have taken place, and any additional important information that will not compromise the safety of students or staff. Below details information regarding different types of emergency situations and practices, the communication process, and key information for parents to know if an emergency arises. BCISD encourages parents to review the BCISD Emergency Communications Information Chart in order to be informed and to understand the different types of emergency practices that could take place on your student's campus.
As a Parent, How Can You Prepare for a School Emergency?
BCISD Parents should ensure that they have provided accurate contact information to their child's school. Be sure that all telephone contact numbers are correct when filling out registration and contact information for your student's campus. If your number changes or another guardian/emergency contact phone number changes, be sure to update this information or contact your student's campus to have the information updated. Check and ensure that your voicemail box is able to receive new voicemails. If your voicemail is full, be sure to delete old voicemails that are not needed so that you can receive new voicemails. Provide an accurate and reliable email address that you are able to frequently check and turn on notifications when you receive an email from a BCISD email address. Discuss with your student the importance of remaining calm, and quiet, and following directions that are given to them during the time of an emergency situation on campus. Discuss a plan for reunification; who are emergency contacts that may pick up your student if released early? What should your student do if they are a bus rider and are released early from school?
When picking an emergency contact and someone who is designated to pick up your student from school in the event of an early release or emergency situation it is important to keep in mind the following;
- Is the emergency contact or designee at least 18 years of age or older?
- Is this person accessible to pick up your student early if asked? Do they work from home or have a flexible work schedule to pick up your student if needed?
- Is this person in close proximity to your student's school? Could they get to your student's campus in a timely manner if asked in the spur of the moment?
- Is this someone that your student knows well and is comfortable with?
- Is this someone that you can trust with your student and their well-being?
- Is this person aware that they will be an emergency contact and the responsibility that comes with the role?
- Is this someone who has a valid and current picture I.D.?
What Should You Do as a Parent During a School Emergency?
During a school emergency, it is important to remain calm and understand that your cooperation as a parent during an emergency is vital to the emergency plans and processes that the campus, district, and BCISD-PD have in place. BCISD understands that any school emergency can be worrisome and stressful for a parent, and can quickly cause panic. Parents can be confident that BCISD will communicate as quickly and effectively as possible in the time of a school emergency providing the most accurate information. BCISD's top priority is student and staff safety in the threat of any school emergency. BCISD staff, administrators, and BCISD-PD officers are committed and dedicated to ensuring student safety and taking the best safety and security measures at all times.
Ensure that your phone is on and available to receive calls from the district pertaining to a school emergency. Be sure to check your email regularly for emails from the district regarding information and updates on the emergency situation. Frequently check or turn on notifications for the BCISD Facebook page , www.facebook.com/baycityisd/ , as information and updates are posted to the page once the phone call, text, and email contacts have been sent out to parents.
We ask that parents do not try to call their student's campus when an emergency arises. During an emergency, front desk administrators will follow the emergency plan which may cause them to be away from the campus phones and unavailable to answer campus phone calls. If multiple phone calls are coming in from parents to the campus phone lines this can overwhelm the phone system potentially causing the lines to become busy or inactive. It is important that the phone lines on campus are available for emergency communication as it is needed. BCISD will send out information and communication to parents, staff, and the community as soon as it is made available.
In an emergency situation, it is requested that parents do not come to the campus to pick up their student early from school until instructed to do so. BCISD's priority is to keep the students and staff safe in a secure location. A parent or community member waiting outside of a campus during an emergency to pick up their student early without instruction, could potentially put that parent or community member in harm's way depending on the emergency situation. In many emergency situations, the campus could be on a lockdown, secure status, or hold status that does not allow any visitors to enter or exit the building until cleared. BCISD's priority is to ensure that students remain safe while on campus and make it home safely upon departure. As soon as a situation is declared safe by BCISD-PD, the BCISD Communications Department and administrators will begin contacting parents regarding the release of students. BCISD-PD and BCISD will not allow for students to leave campus or leave with a parent/guardian if there is a threat that can potentially harm the student or parent during the process. BCISD-PD will ensure that the campus and surrounding areas are all clear before allowing students to leave with their parent/guardian as student safety is the top priority.
How District Communication Works in Time of an Emergency or Crisis
In the event of a school emergency, it is almost second nature and a natural reaction for students to text or contact their parents, family members, and friends using their smartphones. The principal and administrators of the campus will make an initial announcement informing students and staff of the emergency procedures to start following in the face of a threat or emergency. This can cause a sense of worry or concern for a student, which can lead them to text or contact their parents and family members. Students have the ability to contact their parents faster than the campus or district can in these situations. In the event that a student contacts their parent about an emergency happening on campus, we encourage parents to remain calm and patient as the district's Communications Department will send out the factual information as quickly as possible. When a campus initiates one of the emergency statuses and begins following the emergency plan, the BCISD Administration is quickly alerted. As campus leaders, staff, and BCISD-PD are transitioning students to their designated safety areas, they communicate immediately and effectively with BCISD Administration, including the BCISD Communications Department.
The BCISD Communications Department instantly begins working on a statement to send out to parents regarding the emergency situation taking place on campus. This statement will include the facts of what exactly is happening, whether it is an incident, threat, or concern at a campus and the emergency procedures that are taking place. The BCISD Communications Department works closely with the superintendent, campus administrators, BCISD-PD, and local law enforcement agencies to ensure that the district shares all factual information with parents, staff, and the community. This information is written into a statement that is emailed out to all parents, along with a phone call providing the statement and is posted on the district's social media sites. The BCISD Communications Department will communicate with the parents directly first, then provide a public statement that is sent to local news and media outlets as well as posted to the district's social media sites. This process can take several minutes; to receive all factual information, confirm facts and procedures with BCISD-PD, local law enforcement, and administrators, create a statement explaining the emergency situation and procedures, for the communication system to successfully send out the information to parents and staff via email, text and phone call, and for the statement to upload to the social media sites. In these situations, it is important for parents to remain calm and patient as the BCISD Communications Department works as quickly as possible to get the factual information out to families.
BCISD will always communicate as briskly and effectively as possible in emergency situations. During the process of getting information out, unfortunately, BCISD has no control over what parents, community members, or families may post online or communicate regarding an emergency situation on campus. It is very common that parents and community members will post or communicate the information that they have been told by their student or other community members regarding an emergency situation on campus. It is important to remember that only BCISD, BCISD-PD, or other local law enforcement agencies will publicly provide the facts and details regarding an emergency situation that has taken place at a campus. Rumors and misinformation about a campus emergency situation can spread quickly throughout the community and online, which is why it is important to wait for the official and accurate communication that is provided by BCISD, BCISD-PD, or other local law enforcement agencies.
It is also important to note that BCISD works closely with the BCISD-PD and local law enforcement agencies during any campus emergency. There may be times when the district must limit certain information during an emergency situation for the safety and security of a campus. BCISD will always communicate and update parents and families with the important need-to-know information as soon as possible. However, in the event of an ongoing investigation and emergency, BCISD may withhold certain details until there is an all-clear determined by BCISD-PD and local law enforcement. In certain emergency situations, BCISD may be instructed by BCISD-PD and local law enforcement agencies to withhold specific details until the investigation is complete. During an ongoing investigation, BCISD-PD and local law enforcement agencies want to ensure not to provide the public with certain confidential details as sharing specific information could potentially put the campus at risk. BCISD will always abide by the instruction and guidance of BCISD-PD and local law enforcement to ensure the safety of its students and staff. Any specific details regarding an investigation or case are typically shared by BCISD-PD or local law enforcement once the investigation is complete and it is deemed safe to do so.
How Does the Reunification Process Work if My Student Evacuated their Campus?
The BCISD Communications Department will continue to send out any updates regarding an emergency situation on campus as soon as it receives the information from administrative leaders, BCISD-PD, and local law enforcement. It is important to keep your devices nearby to receive this communication throughout the day. BCISD will send out information to parents regarding early dismissal, evacuation location, or dismissal plans. BCISD will communicate instructions regarding the plans for an early release or dismissal and where the reunification is planned to take place. It is important that all students remain on campus or at the evacuation site until released to a parent or designated emergency contact. The district will communicate where parents can pick up their students and the security procedures that will take place when releasing students. In most cases, the parent or designated contact will need to sign their student out with a campus staff member showing a valid form of photo identification. It is important that parents remain calm and patient during the reunification process as it can cause delays in student pickup. It is a timely process ensuring that all students are properly checked out and leave the site safely. In the event of an evacuation, high school students that drive themselves to school will be escorted to their vehicles by staff members or law enforcement to ensure safety. Bus riders will be picked up from the evacuation site on their normal bus routes and ride home at the released time. Parents should be advised that their students could arrive home earlier than usual due to an early release or dismissal.
What Happens in the Event of Severe Weather?
BCISD pays close attention to potential inclement weather situations. Parents should be advised that the district will communicate quickly and effectively in the event of a school cancellation due to inclement weather. Communication can happen as soon as the early morning hours of a planned school day. Parents will be sent information from BCISD regarding inclement weather or a school cancellation via text, email, and phone call, as well as posted to district social media sites. During hurricane season, BCISD remains on alert, closely monitoring the weather predictions and conditions to best advise families, staff, and parents on the best next steps.
In the event that inclement or severe weather happens during school hours, BCISD staff are trained and prepared to lead students to their designated shelter areas on campus. Students and staff practice multiple safety drills throughout the school year to ensure they are aware of what to do during an emergency. Students and staff will take shelter in their designated areas on campus that have been assessed as the safest areas in the building to withstand severe weather storms.
If severe weather takes place during a scheduled school day it is recommended that parents/guardians do not try and pick up their child early from school unless instructed to do so. Traveling to and from the campus can be dangerous for both the parent and student in a severe weather storm or situation. In most cases, the building structure of the BCISD campus can be determined as a safer shelter to withstand a severe weather event than a house, apartment, or living dwelling.
What Should I Do if I Have Concerns or Information on a Potential Risk?
BCISD encourages any and everyone to share any information that they may find concerning a potential risk, or even a situation that is ongoing and needs attention. If you see something, say something! Anyone can reach out to the BCISD Police Department to share information by phone 979-401-1120, On-call number 979-429-6219, or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Anyone can submit an anonymous tip using the BCISD Tip Line Tip Line / Tip Line (bcblackcats.net) If you have information regarding a case or investigation that involves the Bay City Police Department, please call 979-245-8500. BCISD is grateful and appreciative to those who provide information regarding a potential concern, threat, or incident, as BCISD takes any threat, concern, or incident very seriously.
CAMPUS EMERGENCY GUIDE
Below is a list and chart detailing the different emergency statuses and procedures that BCISD staff and students follow when initiated. BCISD wants parents to be informed of the different emergency statuses and what happens on campus if any of these emergency statuses are in place.
1. LOCKDOWN "Campus is on lockdown, initiating a lockdown"
If a campus goes on a "LOCKDOWN" Emergency Status, all doors must be locked including all interior and exterior doors, all classroom and office lights are turned off, and all students and staff must be hidden out of sight. (examples could include; an aggressive intruder, a threat on campus in the building)
The campus administration and assigned campus BCISD-PD police officer will quickly assess the situation and place the campus on lockdown out of an abundance of precaution or for security reasons. The principal will make a school-wide announcement that the campus is initiating a lockdown. All campus staff, district administrators, and BCISD-PD will receive an alert that a lockdown has been initiated at the campus. BCISD-PD begins collaborative work with local law enforcement agencies to assess the campus and situation. The BCISD Communications Department will begin working on a statement to send out to parents, staff, and the community informing them of the lockdown and the potential threat. That statement will be posted to the district's social media sites once it has been sent out to parents, staff, and families. The BCISD Communications Department will continue to send out updates and information to parents, staff, and families regarding the lockdown as needed.
2. SECURE STATUS "The campus is going into SECURE status"
If a campus goes into a "SECURE" Emergency Status, all students and staff must be inside of the building, all interior and exterior doors are to be locked, and school and classroom activities, along with the campus schedule continue as normal. (examples; suspect on foot in the area, an active investigation going on in the area)
If the campus administration and staff notice something outside or in the area that looks alarming, they will quickly inform their leaders and the assigned campus BCISD-PD police officer. The BCISD-PD officer and principal will initiate the secure status with a school-wide announcement, which will also alert the BCISD Police Department and BCISD Administration. In other cases, the BCISD-PD may receive an alert from BCPD or other local law enforcement agencies of criminal activity in the area. In this case, BCISD-PD will immediately put the affected campus on a secure status until deemed all clear. The BCISD Communications Department will begin working on a statement to send out to parents, staff, and the community informing them of the secure status on campus and the potential threat. That statement will be posted to the district's social media sites once it has been sent out to parents, staff, and families. The BCISD Communications Department will continue to send out updates and information to parents, staff, and families regarding the secure status as needed.
3. HOLD STATUS "The campus is going into HOLD status"
If a campus goes into a HOLD status, all staff and students are instructed to go into their classrooms or offices in order to clear the hallways. (examples; non-emergency, an irate parent or disruption in the front office, a fight in the hallway, or campuswide assessments and evaluations)
The campus administrators or assigned campus BCISD-PD officer can initiate the hold status as a nonemergency tool to effectively clear out the hallways. The principal will announce the hold status to the campus. Once the HOLD status is initiated, BCISD-PD and BCISD Administration is immediately alerted. The BCISD Communication Department quickly begins working on a statement to send out to parents, families, and staff members regarding the HOLD status, procedures, and reason for the campus going on a HOLD status. That statement will also be shared on the district's social media sites. The BCISD Communication Department will continue to provide updates as needed to parents, staff and families.
4. TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCY "TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCY initiated"
If a TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCY is initiated an incident may have occurred on a BCISD school bus possibly impacting students and staff. (ex: an accident on the bus, altercation on the bus)
The staff members on the bus or bus drivers will alert the Transportation Department leaders, campus administration, and BCISD Administration of the incident. The Transportation Department or BCISD Administrators will initiate a "TRANSPORTATION EMERGENCY". The Transportation Department will share incident details and information with the designated campus administrators, BCISD Administrators, and BCISD-PD. The BCISD Communications Department will begin preparing a statement for parents, families, and staff regarding the incident and will continue to update the individuals as needed. That statement will also be shared on the district's social media sites. The campus principal will send out information to follow up with parents, staff, and families. If any injury, the campus administrators will contact the student's parents directly.
5. SHELTER or SHELTER IN PLACE "SHELTER IN PLACE, the campus is going into SHELTER IN PLACE"
If a campus goes into "SHELTER or SHELTER IN PLACE", there is a hazard in the area that causes students and staff to go to their designated safety areas for shelter. (examples; severe weather or storm in the area, tornado, hurricane, or chemical plant release)
The BCISD Administration, BCISD-PD, or campus administrators may initiate a SHELTER IN PLACE at a campus or multiple campuses if there is a potential threat in the area that causes students and staff to take cover in a safe location. Once SHELTER IN PLACE is initiated, the principal will make an announcement to the campus, as the BCISD Administration, BCISD-PD, and staff are immediately alerted. The BCISD Communications Department will work quickly to send out a statement to the parents, staff, and families regarding the SHELTER IN PLACE status and post it to all social media sites. The Communication Department will continue to send out any updates as needed regarding the status.
6. EVACUATION "The campus will EVACUATE the building"
If a campus must EVACUATE the campus, all students and staff are required to EVACUATE the building immediately and go to their designated safety site off campus. (example; gas leak, fire, bomb threat)
The campus administration or BCISD-PD will initiate an EVACUATION Emergency Status for a campus, which will immediately alert BCISD Administration and BCISD-PD. The campus principal will make an announcement to the campus to begin evacuation immediately. The campus students and staff will EVACUATE the building and relocate to their designated safety site off campus. The BCISD Communications Department will work quickly to send out a statement to the parents, families, and staff members regarding the evacuation and the reason. The Communications Department will continue to update parents, families, and staff on the status of the evacuation and additional information. The local fire department and local law agencies will be contacted to investigate and inspect the campus. Students and staff will remain at the designated safety site until the building is determined as all-clear by authorities. If the campus is not determined all-clear, the BCISD Communications Department will send out information to parents and families with instructions on the reunification process and early dismissal procedures.