School Safety Drills

  • RCSD will conduct fire (evacuation) drills and lockdown drills as required by education law and regulation and the fire code, without exceptions. The drills required by Education Law § 807 include eight (8) evacuation drills and four (4) lockdown drills. These drills will be completed as required. Schools must continue to conduct mandatory fire and lockdown drills according to the existing statutory schedule. Drills will be conducted in a manner that maintains social distancing at exits and gathering points outside the building, while still preparing students to respond in emergencies.

    Fire Code Section 404 requires that schools maintain Fire Safety, Evacuation, and Lockdown Plans and these plans include how lockdown and evacuation drills are conducted. Methods to promote and provide for social distancing during the evacuation drills are ultimately the District's or other applicable school’s decision and responsibility. Those changes must be included in the Fire Safety Plans.

    When planning drills, consideration should be given to how a school may modify their drill procedures to minimize risk of spreading infection. Conducting drills is an important part of keeping students and staff safe in an emergency; however, steps should be taken to minimize the risk of spreading infection while conducting drills. As such, it may be necessary for schools to conduct drills in the school year using protocols that are different than they are used to.

    Regardless of the modification used when conducting a drill, students should be instructed that if it was an actual emergency that required evacuation or lockdown, the most imminent concern is to get to safety; maintaining social distancing in an actual emergency that requires evacuation or lockdown may not be possible and should not be the first priority.

    Modifications to School Safety Drills may include, but are not limited to:

    • Conduct lockdown drill in classroom setting while maintaining social distancing/using masks.
    • Evacuation drills can be conducted on a staggered schedule, only evacuating one or a few classrooms at a time, allowing appropriate distance to be kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by classroom will minimize contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day.
    • If schools reopen with a “hybrid” in-person model, such as one where students attend school alternate school weeks to reduce the occupancy of the school building, schools must be certain that all students are receiving instruction in emergency procedures and participating in drills while they are in attendance in-person.
    • Conduct lockdown drill in classroom without “hiding”/ “sheltering” but provide an overview of how to shelter or hide in the classroom.
    • School buildings will identify how drills will be conducted using the following considerations:
      • Students will be instructed on actual emergency procedures and that maintaining social distancing in an actual evacuation or lockdown is not the first priority.
      • Evacuation drills can be conducted on a staggered schedule, only evacuating one or a few classrooms at a time, allowing appropriate distance to be kept between students to the evacuation site. Staggering by classroom will minimize contact of students in hallways, stairwells, and at the evacuation site. If conducting drills using a modified procedure, it is required that the drill be conducted with all students in the school building on that school day.