parent involvement schoolHave an Emergency Safety Plan for Your Children (Students)Have an Emergency Safety Plan for Your Children (Students)

 a note from the teacher to parents

by Jennifer Cummings, M.Ed.

Have an Emergency Safety Plan for Your Student

In the winter months many places throughout the country are plagued by ice, snow, and unsavory weather of all kinds. In addition, colds and flu are on the rampage through many schools. Beyond the unpleasantness of Mother Nature in the winter and the havoc that illness brings to schedules, there are many different types of emergencies which may come up, and planning ahead helps to keep everyone safe in the face of the unexpected.

Weather

Weather is the unpredictable and often most troublesome of the winter elements. A sudden snow storm can lead to early school closings or late bus runs for youngsters. Here are a few things your family can plan ahead for in case of a wintery blast:

Hide a spare key in the yard or give older kids a key of their own. This will allow the child to access the house if they arrive home before their caregiver. Try to have a plan with a neighbor, relative, or friend regarding who can meet the bus if the day is canceled early. Never wait until the emergency arrives.

Have emergency contact information updated in school. Some schools, particularly with younger children, may not allow students to be left unattended at the bus. Therefore, it is essential that there are alternate contacts available for the school if a parent cannot be reached. Try to use people that know the child well, but do not live in the same house; they should also have access to transportation.

Make sure kids have mittens and a hat in their backpack. Sometimes the nicest mornings lead into the stormiest afternoons. Having a spare hat and some gloves can keep your child warm if they are exposed to the weather.

If there is a time when the child needs to be picked up at school in an emergency, decide in advance who should go to the school. It is important to realize who is most likely to get to the school in a timely manner.

Put your child’s school phone number into your mobile phone. This will allow you to get in touch if necessary.

Illness

Plan ahead regarding who will care for your child if they are ill. Most daycare providers cannot accept children who are visibly ill into their care centers. Therefore, it is important to think about who will care for your child if you are unable to stay home from work or other commitments.

If your child is ill during the school day, it is important for the school to know whom to contact. If you know you will be out of contact on business or vacation, for example, be sure to send a note with emergency contact information to the school. That will help the school staff to identify the correct person to contact if your child needs to go home.

Have current medical numbers on your child’s emergency card. If the school staff is concerned about a serious condition, they may need to contact your physician for information. Be sure to have an updated contact for your pediatrician or family doctor listed.

Unexpected Emergency

No one likes to be surprised, but personal emergencies do arise, especially in the winter. Accidents, car problems, and other difficulties can make life more difficult than normal.

If you find yourself in an unexpected personal emergency, don’t forget to:

Notify the school about the problem you are having as soon as possible. They will likely be able to keep your student at the school until you or a family member can arrive.

Ask how long someone can wait with your child until help arrives. This will give you time to contact help.

Don’t be embarrassed to ask for assistance. Schools want their students and their families to be safe. If you are unable to pick up a child due to an unreliable vehicle, or other unsafe situation, call the school and let them know you have made other arrangements. Most schools will honor a parent or guardian phone call to allow someone else to pick up their child in cases of emergency.

By planning ahead as much as possible, you can help yourself and your child feel more comfortable about the unpredictable nature of the winter. When your family plans ahead, they are less likely to have a true emergency.

Stay safe this winter!

Jennifer Cummings

Ms. Cummings, author, and editor of the Education and School Section, she has a B.A.in psychology and an M.Ed. in special education from Framingham State College in Massachusetts. She was an elementary teacher in Massachusetts serving both regular education and special education students. She has taught grades 1,4, and 5.

"I believe that families' involvement in their child's education is one of the key ingredients to creating a successful school experience for children. Keeping parents informed about school-related issues helps parents and teachers work together for the best possible outcomes for their children. Learning together makes learning fun - for everyone!" - Jennifer Cummings.
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