Keeping Yorktown Safe
The safety of our students is our foremost concern. Believing this, Yorktown High School strives to incorporate our entire community into planning for possible emergencies that could develop in our school or the surrounding community. Yorktown staff work in conjunction with our APS colleagues, Arlington Police and Fire Departments, as well as our parents and families to create the safest possible environment for our students. In planning for these kinds of emergencies, parents need to understand some of the components of Yorktown’s safety plan:
- Staff Preparation. All APS staff are provided with detailed instructions regarding emergency plans for a variety of possible situations. Although these plans are not available to the public, they form the basis for staff training and preparedness. Additionally, the APS Facilities Department regularly works with Yorktown to help enhance the safety and security features of our building.
- Drills. Taking guidance from our emergency planning, we practice a variety of drills with our students and staff to prepare for many possible emergency situations, including severe weather, fire, or violence in or around Yorktown. We teach students to be calm during these drills, and we rehearse possible scenarios in such a way that students will react safely during a genuine emergency.
- Communication. During an emergency, parents want to know that their children are safe. Every effort will be made to notify parents promptly if the safety of their students is compromised. Should a school-wide situation develop, Yorktown, along with the APS Office of School and Community Relations, will disseminate information to our families and the community as rapidly as possible (Parents should be sure that they are registered to receive SchoolTalk messages. More information about SchoolTalk can be found at http://www.apsva.us/schooltalk.). Parents should be mindful that immediate communication with their children may not be possible via students’ personal cell phones during an emergency.
- Reunification. In the event that Yorktown students must be held in a secure location during an emergency, every effort will be made to reunify students with their parents as quickly as possible. For some emergencies, this reunification may not occur until after the close of the usual school day and may even occur off-site. During a reunification process of this type, unlike a normal dismissal, parents or guardians should expect school staff to escort their children directly to their parents, guardians, or emergency contacts.
- Emergency Personnel. During an emergency, the Arlington County Police and/or Fire Departments may assume command of the school. Keep in mind that during a serious, school-wide event, Yorktown staff will follow instructions of emergency personnel in order to best protect our students and staff.
- Parents. Yorktown staff believes that keeping kids safe is best done in partnership with parents. In addition to keeping parents informed, we want parents and community members to let us know if they’re aware of any unsafe situations that may impact our students. The Yorktown web page (https://yhs.apsva.us/) includes a link for “Student Safety Reporting”. That link allows any parent, student, or community member to report confidentially if they’re aware of a situation in which a student might need help staying safe.
Parents with any questions about emergency planning or student safety should contact Scott McKeown, Assistant Principal, at 703-228-2618.