What kind of training do school staffs undergo to ensure they are prepared for an emergency situation?
Each of our schools conduct a number of different drills several times a year so students and staff have an opportunity to practice what they need to do in different kinds of emergency situations. The exercises range from lockdown drills to fire drills.

Who takes part in these trainings?
These drills are held in cooperation with the Idaho Falls Police Department, the Bonneville Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement and emergency personnel. We invite these law enforcement agencies to take part in these drills to ensure they are very familiar with our buildings, our staff and our procedures.

After the drills, district staff and law enforcement officials do a debrief to ensure proper procedures and protocols were followed, and to identify things that could be done differently.

What happens when a school is in lockdown?
When a school goes into lockdown, teachers secure their classrooms by locking doors, turning off lights, and moving students to the safest part of the classroom. Many teachers have emergency kits that may include paper, crayons and other things that could help distract children and help keep calm them in the case of a real emergency.

During a lockdown, teams of police will move through the school, securing the building, and then will safely escort teachers and students from the building. Other school staff will follow the same procedures, remaining in their areas such as media center, offices, etc., until the police arrive. During a lockdown, staff will not answer calls or take messages. The priority is ensuring the safety and security of students.

What should parents do in case of a lockdown?
In an emergency situation, it is natural for parents to want to rush to a school or call a child to make sure they are OK. However, the best thing parents can do is to be patient and allow school staff and law enforcement officials to assess the situation, make sure children are safe, and secure the school buildings.

How will parents be notified in an emergency situation?
The district's first priority in an emergency situation is always the safety and security of students and staff, but parents will be alerted as soon as possible. Idaho Falls School District 91 has a number of communication tools that are used to notify parents in case of an emergency. They range from texts to automated phone calls to emails or news alerts, and different tools are used depending on the situation.

One of the most important things parents can do is to make sure their child's school has the most current contact information including cell phone, emergency contacts, home phone and home address. You can review and update contact information by logging into PowerSchool.

Why aren't parents contacted immediately?
Again, the district's first priority is always ensuring the safety and security of students and staff. In an emergency situation, it can take some time to alert staff, implement emergency procedures and secure buildings.

In this age of cell phones, twitter and facebook, information moves incredibly quickly. District staff will do their best to move just as quickly, but they want to make sure the information they share is accurate, useful and doesn't create unnecessary alarm.

What else is the district doing to ensure school buildings are safe and secure?

  • With the exception of our high schools, all schools have single point entry, which means there is only one entrance to the school and other doors are locked to limit access to the building. At our high schools, classes are held in some outbuildings so it's not possible to have single point entry, but even in those schools, only certain doors are open at certain times of the day.
  • The district implemented new policies a number of years ago requiring anyone visiting a school, including volunteers, to check in at the office and receive a visitor badge. This makes it easier for school staff and students to identify someone who may not be authorized to be in a school.
  • Each school has a designated "safe area" where students would have shelter and security in case of an emergency that required the evacuation of a school.
  • School counselors across the district have undergone crisis training and are available to provide help and assistance in any number of emergency situations.
  • The district is beginning a pilot project to implement keyless entry access in our schools, which would make it much easier to secure our school buildings.
  • The bond that was recently approved by patrons includes a number of projects that will improve the safety and security of our buildings including four new elementary schools specifically designed with student safety in mind.The safety and security of our students and our staff is our top priority.