West Jeff Schools working to keep students safe


(Posted June 16, 2016)

By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

Keeping kids safe is a dynamic process that administrators and staff at Jefferson Local Schools continue to refine as state mandates and potential threats evolve.

During a June 13 meeting, Bob Hiss, director of facilities and transportation, updated school board members on the district’s emergency security system—a combination of hardware, policies and Web-based digital procedures in line with state standards.

“It is certainly a timely subject these days,” said Superintendent William Mullett.

An outside company mapped each room, closet, fire extinguisher and shut-off valve in the district’s buildings. The information was coupled with 360-degree imagery and still photos and incorporated into the district’s emergency operations plan.

“First responders have access to this system,” Hiss said. “It is handy for first responders in an emergency.”

The security system can be used with Android or Apple devices as long as the user is logged into the school system. Door stations, funded by grant money, were installed, allowing school staff to view visitors before buzzing them inside a building. Minor security tweaks were made at the bus lot, as well.

Newly updated flip charts detailing specific levels of emergencies—such as fire, severe weather, medical incidents and lockdowns—are computerized and avail-able on hard copy. Emergency drill logs also are tracked digitally.

“Our emergency operations plans were reviewed and approved on March 17 by the Ohio Department of Education and Homeland Security,” Hiss said.

“We’ll quickly brief all staff on the new plans prior to the first day of school. The first week of school, we’ll do a drill day (with evacuations). We’ll have first responders participate as well.”

Hiss also reported on a preliminary five-year plan that includes installing a door station at the administrative office, adding electronic locks at each building, and upgrading the district’s security camera system.

“These are just preliminary things we’ve been thinking about as we go along,” he said.


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