I’d like to provide you with updated information that may help to answer some questions that have surfaced since my previous two communications.
- Yesterday I or my Central Staff visited each and every one of the 10 schools in the district, meeting with every principal and walking through every school. Counselors have been at every school to provide support and information to help teachers and students. Our Counseling Department has provided resources that may be helpful for parents (attached).
- At the school district’s Emergency Management Team meeting that took place last week (prior to Friday, December 14), the team had already planned for security audits at every building. The Team meets monthly. We take all of our safety precautions very seriously.
- Tomorrow, I will be participating in a conference with the Westfield Police and administrators from the Town, Board of Education, and School District to further discuss security measures. I have asked the Westfield Police Chief to again come in and meet with school principals. We work very closely with law enforcement and they are very responsive and cooperative. They have come and worked with and trained our principals. The police also use our buildings to conduct their own trainings so that they are familiar with them. Extensive training has been conducted by our local police and at the county level for our principals and administrators, who work with the Crisis Teams in each school. Our nurses also have participated in specific training regarding crisis management.
- Members of the Westfield Police and Fire Departments have overseen our various types of drills in our schools and have previously provided suggestions for improving protocols, which we have implemented.
- Visitors do not have access unless buzzed in or permitted by authorized staff. Visitors to the school are asked to register at the desk and wear visitor tags. School district staff is required to wear name tags. We will continue to work with staff on remaining alert and aware of potential problems.
- Our students are working in their classrooms and seem to be doing well. As one of our principals wrote in a letter to his staff yesterday morning, “I cannot stress enough that we must, as educators and parents, move forward and instill a sense of ‘normalcy’ back in our lives even though ‘business as usual’ takes on a more vigilant focus.” Another principal wrote to parents, “We are conducting business as usual today to provide the routine which will make children feel safe.”
Superintendent of Schools