Our faculty, staff, and administration use an emergency response manual setting forth protocols for dealing with assaults, bomb threats, child abuse, drug overdose, and many other situations calling for carefully thought-out action. Below is information for parents about the situations for which we undergo continual training and drills.
The school conducts five drills each year, one of which is observed by the Grayslake Fire Department. When an alarm sounds, students and teachers evacuate the building following a prescribed path and assemble outside at a safe distance from the building. There teachers check their class rosters and report any missing students to one of three administrative staff who check on them. The building is quickly swept for stragglers. Doors and windows are shut. No one is allowed back in the building until all-clear is indicated.
The school conducts one tornado drill each year in conjunction with one of the monthly tests of the tornado siren system. All students assemble in assigned areas of the basement level of the building, away from windows, sitting on the floor facing a wall in a protective stance.
Since most of our students use one of our vehicles occasionally for various trips, we conduct an emergency drill each year, teaching students bus safety and the safest ways to exit a bus in case of an emergency. We follow a protocol adopted for use by neighboring school districts.
Soft Lockdown: Soft lockdown defines a protocol to respond to a threat outside the school without immediate threat to the students inside the school. This will either be a “Perimeter Lockdown” or a “Room Lockdown,” depending on the level of the threat. In “Perimeter Lockdown,” the students are confined to the building—no outdoor activities—but may freely move around inside the building following normal activities. In a “Room Lockdown,” students are confined to their classrooms and all rooms are locked, but classes may proceed normally.
During a soft lockdown, all visitors must look at the surveillance camera and state their name and reason for visit before being buzzed in, regardless of how familiar they may be to the receptionist.
A soft lockdown will normally be lifted at dismissal, with a heightened sense of alertness on the part of supervising faculty and staff.
Hard Lockdown: Hard lockdown is a protocol to respond to an emergency situation where the safety of students and faculty is jeopardized by the presence or conduct of another individual(s) or dangerous situation in the immediate area. In order to be fully prepared, WCA conducts two hard lockdown drills each year, one of which is observed by Grayslake Police Department personnel.
During a hard lockdown, everyone in the building is confined to locked rooms. Students and teachers are sequestered in a part of the room out of sight of the doorway. All door glass is covered, lights are turned off, windows are closed, locked, and blinds drawn. The building will remain in that condition until professional emergency personnel sweep the building and unlock each room themselves.
If the situation is serious enough to warrant it, the building will be evacuated afterwards and students taken to St. Gilberts Catholic School across Rt. 120 where parents may retrieve them. Students will not be released to parents during a hard lockdown, because no one will be allowed in the building other than emergency responders.