Although our schools close for summer recess, safety remains a District priority year-round.
“Throughout each year, we are in contact with local law enforcement, first responders, government agencies and other school districts to continually review, refine and strengthen our District’s capabilities for keeping our students and staff safe and healthy,” explains Director of Safety, Security and Compliance John Gulino.
Following is a brief overview of key District safety and security projects:
- District and school emergency plans were revised in consultation with local law enforcement, including the Rockland County Tactical REACT team, and reflect staffing changes, floor plan changes resulting from capital work and dates for upcoming safety drills. View the 2022-23 District-Wide Safety Plan. (School emergency response plans are confidential.)
- All employees, coaches and substitutes are required to participate in annual training on the District’s emergency plan before schools open. Training compliance is reviewed regularly to ensure preparedness. Kits equipped with first aid supplies, potable water, light sticks, glucose tablets and more have been purchased for all classrooms and offices and will be distributed to staff this fall.
- The District recently certified an additional 60 individuals–all security guards, several teachers, custodians and administrators–in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to increase the number of capable responders in each building throughout the school day and during extracurricular/after school events. The CPR training included the use of Automated External Defibrillators. The District plans to implement a “Stop the Bleed” training this fall.
- Core members of each School Support Team were trained last winter to evaluate and classify a potential violent threat and determine the appropriate response and intervention. Additional members will be trained this school year. The District threat assessment team is composed of school administrators, psychologists, social workers, prevention counselors, nurses, School Resource Officer Chris Connolly, Director of Safety, Security and Compliance John Gulino and Assistant Superintendent of Pupil Personnel Services Karen Tesik, Ed.D. Additional training and procedural review are ongoing.
- Continuing district-wide efforts include the multi-year review and upgrade of security cameras and the replacement of traffic safety signage across our school campuses are continuing. Minor summer capital improvements, such as the district-wide installation of exterior LED lighting on our grounds and replacement of outdated water fountains with filtered bottle fillers, have also been completed.
- The District is preparing for annual fire inspections this fall and each building will conduct at least 15 safety drills this school year.
- Upgrades of the speaker, public address and lockdown systems at all four schools are in progress. Plans for South Orangetown Middle School and Tappan Zee High School have been approved by the New York State Education Department with work anticipated to begin this fall. Upgrades at the elementary schools will align with the Capital Improvements Bond project work slated to start next summer. Existing systems will remain fully operational at all schools until upgrades have been completed.
Important safety information, including how to access the Anonymous Alerts system to report bullying, suspicious activity or other student-related issues and the District’s emergency response procedures, is included in the Guide to the School Year: 2022-23, which was mailed to all South Orangetown residents last week.
Parents and guardians are strongly encouraged to review this information carefully and develop a family emergency plan and have an alternate childcare provider in place in the event of an unexpected early dismissal or emergency.
For additional information regarding District procedures, view the Safety, Security and Compliance webpage.