Dear Lower Lab Families,
Thank you to so many folks who came out in the very rough weather on Friday to talk about safety in our school. In order to best keep everyone in the loop on our procedures and updates, please read the following carefully, so that we can continue to work together to keep our school community safe.
- Firstly, with matters of public school safety, guidance and protocols are initiated and monitored by the DoE’s safety division, our Borough Safety Team and the NYPD. Therefore, we have standardized practices, such as evacuation drills and lockdowns, on a regular basis. After each practice drill, we debrief and look for ways of improving. We take these drills very seriously and we can tell you to the minute how long it takes for us to evacuate the entire building, or how long it takes us to sweep the building in the event of a lockdown.
- Our building safety committee (which includes members of PS 77, PS 198 and the Beacon program) meets monthly to review our safety plans and determine other actions in addition to our mandates. We continuously discuss ways of best preparing our staff and students for an emergency situation.
- One safety meeting each year is open to the community. It is usually held in April with the NYPD invited to speak with families. We will announce the date shortly.
- At our most recent safety meeting, the committee discussed taking additional measures, that are within guidelines, to ensure safety within our building. They are:
- NEW – Key personnel in both schools will carry walkie talkies so that we can easily communicate with each other, school safety and NYPD, if necessary.
- NEW -Both schools are looking into purchasing door stops for emergencies, to prevent an intruder from pushing in a door.
- NEW – Both school communities purchased a messaging system for emergency communication with families. (Kindly make sure your phone number is up to date with the school’s main office.)
- Tightening access to the school building, by ensuring that:
- NEW – After receiving a visitor’s sticker from the safety agent, all parents/caregivers will go to the school’s main office to sign-in (this is important to help the school know who is in the building, and where, at all times). Upon your arrival to the main office, school staff will call up to the classroom, or other destination, to let them know you have arrived.
If you have a child in the nurse, the safety officer will announce your arrival to the nurse and you can go directly there. Please remember -you will still have to go to the main office to sign your child out of the building.
- For class or other large events, parents will continue to receive passes, which allows them quicker entry to the event. Parents may then go directly to the event and exit at its conclusion.
- Parents and other visitors should be wearing their stickers at all times when in the building.
- NEW – All adult bathrooms will be locked. Parents will need to borrow a key from the main office.
- NEW – All non-parent visitors will be directed to the bathroom on the ground floor, by the Third Avenue security agent.
- NEW– (start date TBA soon) pick up from afterschool will be at the Third Avenue entrance rather than from the classrooms. There will be dismissals at 4pm, 4:30pm and 5pm. Please try your best to reduce pick-ups at different times, as an adult will be required to bring your child down to you.
- Updated – All lunch and recess volunteers will need to check-in with the safety officer and receive a visitor’s sticker. Safety officers will have the list of parents who have signed up in advance (by Friday before the week of). Only those parents will receive stickers – so please sign up in advance!!!
Parents, while these guidelines may seem stringent or cumbersome right now, please know this is in the best interest of your children. I am sure you will agree that safety is priority one! Thank you so much for your ongoing support each and every day!!!
Do not hesitate to reach out to me or Gina with any questions or concerns, which we will be happy to discuss.
I also want to thank Ms. Katherine MacManus (the Principal of PS 198) and Ms. Nicole Kafando (the director of Beacon Afterschool Program) for their ongoing and productive collaboration.