PALM SPRINGS UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
Frequently Asked Questions
What is emergency preparedness?
All Palm Springs Unified School District (PSUSD) schools have plans in place that guide staff in responding to an emergency. In general, each plan involves designating a crisis management team; developing evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lockdown procedures; designating one or more appropriate evacuation sites; provisions for training school staff and updating the plan; and resources for help before, during and after an event. All PSUSD school emergency plans are reviewed annually.
How can I stay informed?
There are a number of ways for parents to stay informed. Emergency information is posted on the PSUSD website (www.psusd.com). The District will also transmit information to local media – newspapers, radio and television stations. The District also has access to a high-speed phone message system that can be used to relay up-to-date information to parent.
What is a lockdown?
If a school cannot be safely evacuated due to active law enforcement activity in the immediate area, school officials may choose to protect students and faculty by instituting a school lockdown. In a lockdown, all students are kept in classrooms or other designated locations. School personnel will also secure building entrances to make sure that no unauthorized individuals enter or leave the building. Students are monitored closely by staff to ensure that no one leaves the safe area. Parents may be permitted to access the building and to their children if it is safe for them to do so.
What is shelter-in-place?
Shelter-in-place is a short-term measure (measured in minutes or hours, not days) that uses the facility and its indoor atmosphere to temporarily separate people from a hazardous outdoor environment. If an accident or attack created contaminated air in the nearby area, everyone would be brought indoors. Staff would close all windows and doors and shut down the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system. This would create a neutral pressure in the building, meaning the contaminated air would not be drawn into the building. Shelter-in-place activities are usually monitored and supervised by the local fire department or health department. School officials will end the shelter-in-place condition upon approval by the public safety agency in charge of the incident.
How will I know when it is safe to pick my child up?
PSUD desires to keep children safe inside their schools until the threat has been reduced. In an emergency, school may be the safest place for children to be. Parents may pick up their children unless public safety officials have declared a lockdown, shelter-in-place response, or there is some other reason why access to the facility is restricted, such as the access roads to the school are blocked or closed. During any emergency, school personnel will maintain as safe and normal environment for children within the school as is possible.
What if a school is evacuated?
If public safety officials require that a school building be evacuated, students and staff members will be safely walked in groups or be transported by bus to a designated site. Parents will be informed of the location via the local media, the PSUSD web site, or by a telephone call. At the site, students will be released to their parents upon presentation of proper identification.
Why can't I be given the location ahead of time?
During emergency situations, circumstances could arise that might force changes to previously designated locations. Parents will be informed of the location where they can meet students via the local media and through school resources
What if my child is riding a school bus at the time of a crisis?
Bus drivers receive emergency preparedness training and all buses are equipped with two-way radios. Bus drivers will be informed of active emergency scenarios and will not travel toward the crisis location. If for some reason, children cannot be brought to school, the driver will be directed to take them to a designated safe area. Parents will be informed of the location via school resources and local media.
Who can pick up my children?
Children will be released to individuals authorized on the student's emergency care card or who have written parent authorization. Parents may also call with this information. All adults picking up a child including parent will be asked to show photo identification. The emergency card is completed by parents and guardians at the start of each school year. Parents and guardians are encouraged to update the emergency card as needed throughout the school year.
Can I contact my child during an emergency?
Parents are asked not to call the school in emergency situations, so phone lines can remain accessible for handling the specific situation. Parents will be kept informed via the PSUSD website and local media sources, newspapers, television and radio stations.
How are extracurricular activities handled?
The impact of any critical situation on extracurricular activities will depend on the specifics of the situation. There may be circumstances that could require the cancellation of field trips to certain areas. If the situation warrants, all extracurricular activities may be canceled. All school buses are equipped with radio communications with the transportation office. If students are travelling to an event and must be recalled, buses would be directed to return to the school or a designated safe area.