Dear Parents and Guardians,
Maintaining the safety of our students and staff is a main priority of the Cohoes City School District. In light of our recent security threat, I wanted to take this opportunity to review the district’s emergency response procedures. Our schools regularly practice these responses through safety drills during the school year.
Emergency Response System:
Shelter-In-Place is used to shelter students and staff inside the building.
Hold-In-Place is used to limit movement of students and staff while dealing with short term emergencies.
Evacuation is used to evacuate students and staff from the building when leaving the building is the safest alternative.
Lockout secures the outer perimeter of the building. Students who are outdoors are brought inside. All exterior doors are locked and windows are closed and locked. In a lockout, there is no classroom disruption. Anyone wishing to enter or leave the building must first be cleared by a building administrator and/or police.
Lockdown is used to secure school buildings and grounds during incidents that pose an immediate threat of violence in or around the school.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about school lockdowns
What is a lockdown?
A lockdown is the confinement of people inside secured rooms for safety measures. It is used when a serious threat exists to the campus that requires students staff and visitors to remain in a locked area for safety. A lockdown may be ordered by law enforcement, the school principal or any school staff who identify a potential threat.
What happens during a lockdown?
All students, staff and visitors report immediately to the nearest classroom, gym or cafeteria. All doors are locked and secured. All cell phones are silenced. Everyone remains silent. Rooms remain locked until unlocked by police.
Who is in charge during a lockdown?
Once law enforcement arrive on site, they are in charge and the district must follow their directives. We work closely and collaboratively with the Cohoes Police Department to respond to the threat and keep students and staff safe.
Can I pick up my child during a lockdown?
We understand that the first reaction of most parents is to come to their child’s school. However, we ask that parents and guardians wait until we advise them that it is safe to pick up their child. Parents arriving unadvised to the school may actually hinder the emergency response and could jeopardize their own safety.
Can I call the school during a lockdown?
During a lockdown, staff are not able to answer incoming phone calls as they are following the same safety procedures as the students. During other emergency responses, callers may not be able to get through to the office because of an increase in the volume of calls or because staff are helping to ensure students and staff are safe.
What if my child calls or texts me during a lockdown?
In the majority of lockdown scenarios, we advise that students and staff remain as quiet as possible and not use their phones. However, if you are contacted by your child, encourage him or her to remain calm and to follow the directions of teachers and staff.
How will parents and guardians know what is happening?
The district will notify parents as soon as possible about the lockdown through Blackboard Connect, Schoology, School News Notifier (SNN) as well as the district website cohoes.org. This is why it is vitally important to keep your contact information up-to-date.
Should I believe everything I see on social media during a lockdown?
Emergency situations are fluid and always changing. Information you are getting from other sources such as the news media and personal Facebook pages may be inaccurate.
When will a lockdown end?
Everyone will remain in lockdown mode until law enforcement has determined the threat no longer exists. Police will then go door to door unlocking classrooms and notifying students and staff that the lockdown has been lifted. After the lockdown ends, normal school activities may resume or students may be released to their parents or other authorized adults according to the school’s release procedures in the safety plan.
Jennifer Spring, Ed.D.
Cohoes City School District