District Wide Safety Plan

Please find the attached file as our annual posting of the District-Wide Safety Plan for public review prior to the August 10th Board of Education meeting.  Please direct any questions or comments to kpolunci@hfcsd.org
or join us in person at the August 10th Board of Education meeting for public comment.

Updated Draft plan (Downloadable Copy)

Introduction | Section l: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines | Section II: Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention | Section III: Response | Section IV: Declared State of Emergency Involving a Communicable Disease | Section V: Recovery 

Hudson Falls Central School District
District-Wide Safety Plan
2021-2022

Introduction

Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner.  New York State School Districts are required to develop a district-wide school safety plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents, declared state disaster emergencies involving a communicable disease or local public health emergency declaration and other and emergencies. This plan should be used to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies.  The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level.  Districts stand at risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and manmade disasters.  To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law.  Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.

The Warren-Washington-Saratoga-Hamilton-Essex BOCES, in coordination with the Hudson Falls Central School District, supports the SAVE Legislation, and intends to facilitate the planning process.  The Superintendent of Hudson Falls Central School encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.

Section l: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines

A.    Purpose

The Hudson Falls Central School District-Wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17.  At the direction of the Hudson Falls Central School District Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Hudson Falls Central School District appointed a District-Wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-Wide School Safety Plan.

B.    Identification of School Teams

The Hudson Falls Central School District has a District Emergency Response Team and Building Emergency Response Teams for each building.  The initial response to all emergencies at an individual school will be by the Building Emergency Response Team. The District team is responsible for emergencies at the High School, Middle School, Intermediate School, Primary School, Kindergarten Center, and supports all building teams in the event of an actual emergency.

C.    Concept of Operations

§  The District-Wide School Safety Plan shall be directly linked to the individual Building-Level Emergency Response Plans for Hudson Falls Central School.  The protocols reflected in the District-Wide School Safety Plan will be used to guide the development and implementation of the individual Building-Level Emergency Response Plans.

§  The development of the District-Wide Safety Plan was a collaborative effort involving members of the District Emergency Response Team, Building Emergency Response Teams, law enforcement officials, county emergency service coordinators, and the Capital Region BOCES Health Safety Risk Management Services.  The plan was further developed utilizing the guidelines provided by the New York State Education Department.

The Superintendent has appointed Kevin Polunci as the Chief Emergency Officer whose duties shall include, but not be limited to:

  1. Coordination of the communication between school staff, law enforcement, and other first responders;
  2. Lead the efforts of the district-wide school safety team in the completion and yearly update by September 1st, of the district-wide school safety plan and the coordination of the district-wide plan with the building-level emergency response plan;
  3. Ensure staff understanding of the district-wide school safety plan;
  4. Ensure the completion and yearly update by September 1st, of building-level emergency response plans for each school building;
  5. Assist in the selection of security-related technology and development of policies for the use of such technology;
  6. Coordinate appropriate safety, security, and emergency training for district and school staff, including required training in the emergency response plan yearly by September 15th; and
  7. Ensure the conduct of required evacuation and lockdown drills in all district buildings as required by Education Law section 807.
  8. ensure the development of protocols for responding to a declared state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease that are substantially consistent with the provisions of section 27-c of the Labor Law.

§  In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies at an individual school will be by the Building Emergency Response Team.  The Hudson Falls Central School District consists of the following facilities:

  • High School
  • Middle School
  • Intermediate School
  • Primary School
  • Kindergarten Center
  • Maintenance/Transportation

All information pertaining to an emergency or violent incident will be directed to either the Building Principal/Designee or the District Emergency Response Team.

  • Upon the activation of the Building Emergency Response Team, the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee and District Emergency Response Team will be notified. When appropriate local emergency officials will also be notified by calling 911.

  • County and State resources through existing established protocols may supplement emergency response efforts.

D.    Plan Review and Public Comment

  • This plan shall be reviewed and maintained by the District and Building Emergency Response Teams on an annual basis.
  • Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17(e) (3), this plan will be made available for public comment 30 days prior to adoption. The district-wide and building-level plans may be adopted by the School Board only after at least one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan must be formally adopted by the Board of Education.
  • While linked to the District-Wide School Safety Plan, the Building-level Emergency Response Plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a.
  • Full copies of the District-Wide School Safety Plan and Amendments must be submitted to the New York State Education Department upon adoption by the Board of Education.

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Section II: Risk Reduction/Prevention and Intervention

A.    Prevention/Intervention Strategies

Program Initiatives

The Hudson Falls Central School District has offered programs and activities for improving communications among students and staff in order to report potentially violent incidents, such as:

  • Athletic Programs (Soccer, Basketball, Softball & Baseball, and others)
  • Program concerned with bullying and violence prevention
  • National Incident Management System (NIMS) training for emergency response team members
  • New York State School Safety Guide (2013)
  • Collaboration with the Washington County Office of Emergency Services
  • Dignity For All Students Act (DASA) training

Training, Drills, and Exercises

The Hudson Falls Central School District has developed policies and procedures for annual multi-hazard school safety training for staff and students, including the strategies for implementing training related to multi-hazards.  All drills required by the NYS Department of Education are satisfied annually.  The district has established the following procedure(s) for annual multi-hazard school safety training for staff and students:

  • The District will submit a certification to NYSED that all district and school staff have undergone annual training on the emergency response plan, and that the school safety training includes components on violence prevention and mental health. New employees hired after the start of the school year will receive training within 30 days of hire. The District will certify that all school staff receives this training by September 15th of each school year, or within 30 days of hire, whichever is sooner.
  • Full participation in the Annual Early Dismissal – Go Home Evacuation Drill.
  • Full participation in an On-Site Sheltering and Accountability Drill.
  • Full participation with an Annual Evacuation and Relocation Drill.
  • Full participation with 4 Building Lockdown/Security Drills annually.
  • The District conducts 8 Fire Alarm Activation and Evacuation Drills annually.
  • The District conducts 4 School Bus Safety and Evacuation Drills annually.
  • Emergency Response Team members participate in simulated tabletop exercises annually to test the building-level safety plan components.
  • The district has conducted drills and other training exercises to test components of the emergency response in coordination with the following agencies:
    • Washington County Office of Emergency Services, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, Hudson Falls Police Department, Kingsbury Fire Department, Hudson Falls Fire Department, New York State Police Troop G, Department of Homeland Security, Capital Region BOCES Health Safety Risk Management Service

       

Note: Directly following each test or drill a debriefing will be conducted to evaluate the exercises and determine if changes to the emergency response plan are necessary.  Notes are taken during exercises and the debriefing, which are used during the evaluation process.

Implementation of School Security

The Hudson Falls Central School District has developed policies and procedures related to school building security, including the following:

  • All visitors entering school buildings are directed to the Main Office to provide identification, sign-in using a visitor management system, and receive an identification (printed lapel sticker). Anyone who is found in the building without identification is directed back to the Main Office to sign in.
  • Each Elementary School has a secured front entrance with video monitor and remote access hardware.
  • The Hudson Falls Central School District Administration facility has a secured front entrance with remote access hardware.
  • The Middle School has a secured front entrance with remote access hardware.
  • Visitors to the High School must register with a school representative in the main office before access to the facility is granted.
  • Digital video surveillance systems are installed in district facilities. Video surveillance capabilities will be reviewed and expanded as needed.
  • Annual security audits are conducted by local law enforcement, local fire department officials, insurance companies, and BOCES risk management personnel.
  • SSCSD policy and procedures are not available to the public, but are available to Building-Level Teams, the District-Level Team, and emergency responders through a secure web portal.

Note: Policies and procedures are continually being evaluated and shaped by real-life experiences, such as bomb threats, forced entry into the school building with vandalism, and outbursts of potentially violent behavior by students. 

Vital Educational Agency Information

The Hudson Falls Central School District consists of five educational facilities, one administrative facility, and a shared Maintenance/Transportation facility.

B. Hazard Identification

The identification of sites of potential emergencies are located in the Maps & Diagrams section of each Building-level Emergency Response Plan.  The location of potential hazards, such as: chemical storage, propane & motor fuel storage, potential fire hazards, electrical hazards, playground equipment, etc. are documented on a building and facility diagram.  Potential off-site hazards are identified in the County/Town Hazard Assessment in each of the plans.

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Section III: Response

A. Notification and Activation of Internal and External Communications

  • The district policies and procedures for contacting appropriate law enforcement officials in the event of a violent incident are located in each Building-level Emergency Response Plan. Each plan identifies individuals who are authorized to initiate contact with local law enforcement agencies. All communications during an incident at the school will flow through the Incident Command Center. Emergency services will be requested through the 911 system.

  • In the event of an emergency; staff, students, and visitors will be contacted in one or more of the following manners: Telephone (landline and cellular), Intercom, Runner with a verbal message, Automated Notification System, District Radio System, Regional Repeater Base Station, Email, Radio

  • The district has established guidelines for staff and students that in the event that they initially discover an emergency situation or impending emergency, that they will notify the Principal and provide him/her with information on the nature of the event. In the event that the Principal cannot be reached the District Emergency Response Team will be contacted.

  • Procedures for School Cancellation/Early Dismissal and Community Notification protocol for contacting parents, guardians, or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal are outlined in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan. This includes using local media in some instances as well as an Automated Notification System. Buildings may also use a phone tree with the emergency contact information provided by the student’s parents/legal guardians.

B. Situational Responses

The district has developed multi-hazard response plans. These guidelines are present in the Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Action Guidelines in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan. The emergencies addressed in the plan include: (but are not limited to): Active Shooters, Energy Supply Losses, Loss of Transportation, Air Pollution, Epidemics, Mass Casualties, Anthrax/Biological Threats, Explosions, Medical Emergencies, Aviation Crashes, Fire and Alarm Activations, Natural Gas or Propane Leaks, Biological Threats, Flooding, Public Health Threats, Bomb/Explosive Threats, Hazardous Materials, Radiological Threats, Building Structural Failures, Heating System Failures, School Bus Accidents, Carbon Monoxide, Hostage/Kidnappings, Severe Weather, Civil Disturbances, Incidents-Off Site, Threats of Violence, Crimes Against Persons, Incidents-On Site, Toxic Exposure, Earthquakes, Intruders, Water Emergencies, Electrical System Failures, Loss of Facilities

Others as determined by the Building Emergency Response Teams

In addition to having plans to address emergencies, our plans also include procedures that would be used during an emergency. These procedures include, but are not limited to: Hold in Place, Lockdown, Lockout, Shelter In Place, Fire Drills, Evacuation/Relocation

The guidelines provide basic instructions for responding to any given incidents, such as:

  • Contacting emergency response agencies
  • Moving occupants from an area of danger to an area of safety
  • Assembling the emergency response team and implementing the incident command system
  • Notifying school administrators and the District Emergency Response Team of the incident
  • Community/parent notification
  • Sheltering or student release procedures
  • Aftermath and recovery

Responding to Acts of Violence: Implied or Direct Threats

The Crisis Response Plan and Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Action Guidelines in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provide guidance on the district’s policies and procedures for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students (including to themselves), teachers, other school personnel, and visitors to the school. The following types of procedure(s) are addressed in the plan, and could be used by the district:

    • Contacting parents, guardians, or persons in parental relation to a student in the event of an implied or direct threat of violence by a student against themselves, including the threat of suicide
    • The use of staff trained in de-escalation or other strategies to diffuse the situation.
    • Informing the Building Principal of an implied or direct threat.
    • Determining the level of threat with the District Emergency Response Team.
    • Contacting appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
    • Monitoring the situation, adjusting the district’s response as appropriate, and include possible implementation of the District Emergency Response Team.

Acts of Violence

Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Action Guidelines in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provide guidance on the policies and procedures of the district for responding to direct acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel, and visitors to the school. The following types of procedure(s) are addressed in the plan, and could be used by the district:

    • Determine the level of threat with the District Emergency Response Team.
    • If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
    • Inform the Building Principal and District Emergency Response Team.
    • If necessary, initiate lockdown or lockout procedures and contact the appropriate law enforcement agency.
    • Monitor the situation; adjust the level of response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering, or evacuation procedures.

Note: The Hudson Falls Central School District “Code of Conduct” describes policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel, and visitors to the school.

Response Protocols

The Incident Command System, Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Action Guidelines in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provides guidance on the district’s policies and procedures for responding to bomb threats, hostage-takings, intrusions, and kidnapping.  The following protocols are provided as examples:

    • Identification of decision-makers (incident command team).
    • Plans to safeguard students and staff.
    • Procedures to provide transportation, if necessary.
    • Procedures to notify parents.
    • Procedures to notify media.
    • Debriefing procedures.

Arrangements for Obtaining Emergency Assistance from Local Government

A section on Emergency Communications in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provides guidance for obtaining assistance during emergencies from emergency services organizations and local government agencies. The following examples are the types of arrangements that could be used by the district:

    • The Superintendent or his or her designee in an emergency will contact the Regional Emergency Dispatch Center by calling 911. The dispatcher will determine the appropriate services needed by the school.
    • The Superintendent or his or her designee contacts the highest-ranking City and or Town officials to provide notification and/or request assistance.

Procedures for Obtaining Advice and Assistance from Local Government Officials

The district will utilize procedures outlined in Emergency Communications and the Incident Command System sections in the Building-Level Emergency Response Plans for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or city officials responsible for the implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law. The types of procedures for obtaining advice and assistance from local governments during countywide emergencies could include the following:

    • Superintendent/Designee in an emergency will contact the emergency management coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
    • The district has identified resources for an emergency from the following agencies: Washington County Office of Emergency Services, Adirondack Chapter of the American Red Cross, New York State Police, Washington County Public Health Department, Hudson Falls Police Department, Washington County Sheriff’s Department, and Capital Region BOCES Health Safety Risk Management Services.

District Resources Available for Use in an Emergency

A District & Building Resources and Supply Inventory is located in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan which identifies the district resources, which may be available during an emergency: such as available facilities, blankets, cots, food supply, communications equipment, fire extinguishers, first aid supplies, flashlights, bull horn, district vehicles, and buses.

Procedures to Coordinate the Use of School District Resources and Personnel during Emergencies

Each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provides a description of the district’s procedures to coordinate the use of resources and personnel during emergencies. These sections include the identification of the officials authorized to make decisions and the staff members assigned to provide assistance during emergencies.

Protective Action Options

Each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan describes the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate: school cancellation prior to the start of school, early dismissal, evacuation before, during, and after school hours, and sheltering procedures.

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Section IV: Declared State of Emergency Involving a Communicable Disease

On September 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed into law Chapter 168 of the Laws of 2020 that requires public employers, including public school districts, to adopt a continuation of operations plan in the event that the Governor declares a state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease. The legislation (S.8617-B / A.10832) amended subdivision 2 of section 2801-a of New York Education Law to require that District Safety Plans include protocols for responding to a declared state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease that is “substantially consistent” with the provisions of section 27-c of the Labor Law. A technical chapter amendment (S.01295 / A.009980) to the legislation became effective February 16, 2021 (Chapter 30 of the Laws of 2021).

As per section 27-c of the Labor Law, the operations plan must include, but is not limited to:

    • A list and description of the types of positions considered essential in the event of a State-ordered reduction of in-person workforce. For this purpose, essential is defined as required to be physically present at a worksite to perform his or her job. Such designation may be changed at any time at the sole discretion of the employer.

    • A description of protocols the employer will follow in order for nonessential employees to telecommute including, but not limited to, facilitating, or requesting the procurement, distribution, downloading, and installation of any needed technology, including software, data, and the transferring of office phone lines to work or personal cell phones as practicable or applicable to the workplace, and may include devices.

    • A description of how the employer will, to the extent possible, stagger work shifts of essential employees to reduce overcrowding on public transportation and at worksites.

    • Protocols the employer will implement to procure personal protective equipment (PPE), defined as equipment worn to minimize exposure to hazards, including gloves, masks, face shields, foot and eye protection, protective hearing devices, respirators, hard hats, and disposable gowns and aprons and, for essential employees, a quantity sufficient to provide PPE to each essential employee to meet his or her tasks and needs during any given work shift. A plan for storage of equipment and access to equipment must be included.

    • Protocols in the event an employee is exposed to a known case of the disease, exhibits symptoms of the disease, or tests positive for the disease to prevent the spread or contraction in the workplace. The protocols shall not violate any existing federal, state, or local law regarding sick leave or health information privacy and must include detailed actions to immediately and thoroughly disinfect the work area, common area surface, and shared equipment. The protocols must also 3 describe the employer policy on available leave in the event of the need of an employee to receive testing, treatment, isolation, or quarantine.

    • Protocols for documenting hours and work locations, including off-site visits, for essential employees. The protocol shall be designed only to aid in tracking the disease and to identify exposed employees and contractors to facilitate the provision of any benefits which may be available.

    • Protocols for working with the employer’s locality to identify sites for emergency housing for essential employees to further contain the spread of the communicable disease to the extent applicable to the needs of the workplace.

    • Protocols for implementing any other requirements determined by the Department of Health such as contact tracing or testing, social distancing, hand hygiene, and disinfectant, or mask-wearing.

The employer must consider and respond to recommendations received from the recognized or certified representatives of the employer’s employees in writing, within a reasonable timeframe. A copy of the final version of the plan shall be published in a clear and conspicuous location, and in the employee handbook, and in a location accessible on either the employer’s website or on the internet accessible by employees. No employer shall take retaliatory action or otherwise discriminate against any employee for making suggestions or recommendations regarding the content of the plan. “Retaliatory action” is defined as the discharge, suspension, demotion, or discrimination against any employee, or other adverse employment action taken against an employee in the terms and conditions of employment.

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Section V: Recovery

A. District Support for Buildings

Each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan provides resources for supporting the Emergency Response Team and Post-Incident Response Team at the Hudson Falls Central School District. The District’s Incident Command System Plan identifies alternates to relieve team members, and interfaces with the Crisis Response Plan to provide team members the opportunity to debrief and rehab in a controlled environment. Additionally, members of the Post-Incident Response Team will be provided with sufficient manpower to allow the rotation of personnel, and the opportunity to debrief and rehab in a controlled environment.

B. Disaster Mental Health Services

The Administrative branch of the Post-Incident Response Team (Crisis Response Team) will work through the School Psychologist, Guidance Director, and School Nurse to coordinate disaster mental health resources through the County Mental Health Department, community resources, neighboring school districts, and other disaster mental health resources to fully support members of the crisis response team.

A debriefing of the Post-Incident Response Team is an essential part of the recovery phase following an emergency incident. The debriefing will be used in part to evaluating the district’s plan for possible revisions.

References: While linked to the District-Wide School Safety Plan, References shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a.

Reference 1: The listing of all school buildings covered by the District-Wide School Safety Plan with addresses of building, and contact names and telephone numbers for building staff is located in each Building-Level Emergency Response Plan.
Reference 2: Included in each Building-Level Response Plan is a table identifying the local and state law enforcement organizations that have received copies of the Building-Level Response Plans.
Reference 3: Administrative Regulation 483.2: School Safety and Security
Reference 4: Administrative Regulation 473.2: Bus Accident Regulation

Revised: June 28, 2017 per NYS Education Law Sections 2801-a and 807

Appendix 1: MUST INCLUDED COPY OF SRO CONTRACT ( IF ONE IS USED, if not eliminate this Appendix and Adjust the plan)

Appendix 2: Hudson Falls CSD- Continuation of Operations Plan