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Severe Weather Information For North Texas School Districts

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS)  – CBS 11 News contacted several North Texas school districts. We asked them about their severe weather plans and the information below contains the information they provided.

Dallas ISD

When inclement weather or other school-related emergencies happen, Dallas ISD communicates as soon as possible in these ways:
Posted on dallasisd.org.
Sent to mobile phone users via Dallas ISD’s mobile web app.
Sent via telephone to parents through the district automated calling system School Messenger. Parents are encouraged to keep their contact information updated at their child’s school.
Called in to area radio and television stations.
Posted to Facebook and Twitter.
Dallas ISD Emergency Hotline

The Dallas ISD Emergency Hotline will be activated in the event severe weather or a school emergency situation occurs to provide parents with updated information as it becomes available. Upon activation, parents will be able to call the hotline at (972) 925-5810 to hear recorded information, which will be updated regularly as the emergency situation develops and unfolds.

Each campus is required to complete a Campus Emergency Operations Plan each fall, and they are recommended to conduct at least one severe weather drill each school year.

Click here for more details.

Fort Worth ISD

Emergency Preparedness is something the Fort Worth ISD takes very seriously. We use the National Incident Management System (NIMS) in our approach to emergencies. Our Incident Command Team meets on a regular basis. Our Emergency Operations Center is staffed whenever children are in school. We plan and practice our responses to a wide variety of possible events.

Our Emergency Preparedness Coordinator monitors weather conditions when a potential for severe weather is forecast. Early warning alerts are sent to the appropriate District leadership who are then briefed on this potential. Prior to the issuance of any warning, our Emergency Preparedness Coordinator would have been in contact with the local office of the NWS and the Fort Worth Emergency Management Office. Radio contact with the Tarrant County RACES storm spotting network is also established. We are on, and participating in, the NWS chat room. We monitor local and subscription radar. We monitor all local broadcast meteorologists. Campuses are provided with and required to monitor NOAA weather radios. When a severe thunderstorm warning is issued, notifications are sent to campuses with the greatest likelihood of receiving the incoming storms. These schools will initiate proper safety procedures for this warning. Should a tornado warning be issued, notifications are again sent to the schools in geographical warning areas and those downstream to initiate proper tornado cover procedures.

If needed we communicate through a variety of media. We use the Parentlink telephone notification system which allows immediate contact through a mobile app, email, text and voice message. We use Twitter and Facebook as well as our own web site and, of course, local news media.

Denton ISD

We have procedures/training in place for all types of inclement weather. But for thunderstorms, tornadoes – all our buildings have designated “weather safe” rooms. We do drills so students will know where to go.

We also encourage parents to stay safe when tornado warnings/watches have been issued. We encourage parents to stay home until the weather has passed. We also send out tweets, phone messages, email blasts, etc. to parents to let them kno

Keller ISD

District campuses have conducted mandated tornado drills, and when severe weather is in the forecast, campus administrators will be monitoring their severe weather radios throughout the day.

Keller ISD’s Severe Weather procedures are set forth in District Administrative Regulation FFF(R3) and outlined below.

When severe weather impacts KISD campuses and facilities, the following guidelines apply:

A. Per KISD safety procedures, during severe weather conditions, students are brought inside the building and outside activities are suspended.

B. Campus administration will utilize local media, weather radio and/or internet for the most up-to-date weather information to be used to determine next steps for their campus/facility.

C. If an Outdoor Warning Siren sounds, a weather lockdown is immediately initiated. Those in portable buildings move into the school. During a weather lockdown internal/external doors are locked, movement inside is limited, and classroom instruction continues until the lockdown is lifted. Parents are allowed to check out their child during weather lockdown.

D. If a Tornado Warning has been issued and the campus is in the immediate path of a tornado per the weather resources mentioned above, students and staff will proceed to designated locations and immediately move to a duck and cover position. When a campus is in duck and cover, parents are allowed to enter the building and take cover in an interior location, but are strongly encouraged not to leave with their student until the weather threat has passed.

E. In the event of a weather lockdown, campus administration shall utilize the School Messenger System, campus email, and campus web site, and campus social media tools to notify parents.

F. Campus administration will communicate immediately and frequently with Central administration (Leadership, Media Services, and Safety and Security) to report current weather conditions and campus action steps taken through email and/or texting. The decision to shelter students and staff in a KISD facility during severe weather can be made by, but is not limited to the following KISD staff:

Campus Principal (or designee)
KISD Superintendent
Deputy Superintendent
KISD Leadership (Chief Administrative Officer/Executive Directors)

G. KISD Safety and Security: If a parent chooses to have their child dismissed during severe weather, the District will honor the request as long as the parent has signed a District-approved severe weather release waiver. The waiver is valid for one school year and must be submitted annually. Waiver forms are to be kept on file at the campus. Campuses will provide information about the waiver form through campus newsletters, and will provide a copy of the form to parents upon their request. Walkers will be held unless a waiver is on file.

H. Bus riders arriving at school during severe weather conditions with lightning strikes visible must remain on the bus for approximately 30 minutes after the last strike.

I. Bus riders awaiting transportation during severe weather conditions with lightning must remain in the building until it is safe for them to get on the bus.

J. All student and staff after school activities, including professional development, faculty meetings, practices, and contests at home and way will be suspended if a severe weather watch is in effect at dismissal time or goes into effect during the time of activity.

Plano ISD

District policy CKC (local) states that principals shall conduct emergency drills to assure the orderly movement of students and personnel during severe weather. The accepted and recommended signal for these drills is a series of uninterrupted or continuous short bells. One long bell signal call is clear and students should be returned to class.

1. The principal should select an area of the building to be used for shelter by each class or section of the building. In selecting the sheltered area the principal should look for interior hallways that do not run parallel to the southwesterly direction and are located on the ground floor of the building.

If possible gymnasiums, auditoriums or other rooms with wide free-span roofs should not be used. Also, areas adjacent to a great deal of glass should not be used. It is very important that all staff members and all students know where the designated shelter area is located. The principal should contact the building’s architect in selecting the safest areas of the building. The district’s director of new construction will assist you in contacting the architect.

2. The principal should designate an outside area, well away from the building and power lines, for assembly should it become necessary to evacuate the building.

3. During periods of severe weather, particularly when a tornado watch is in effect (a tornado watch occurs when weather conditions exist which make a tornado possible) specific staff members should be assigned to monitor the building’s cable television and the city’s early warning sirens/speakers.

Your local fire department or other public safety operations will broadcast official information over the telecable, sirens and speakers. Commercial radio and television may not be reliable for you. Be sure to check with your cable operator (Allen, Dallas, Richardson, Murphy and Plano have different ones) to determine which channel to monitor. Staff members should also be assigned to watch the sky for large masses of dark rolling clouds. When information is received of a tornado warning (which means a tornado has been spotted) or when a staff member spots a tornado, the principal should send occupants of the building to the designated safe areas.

When sent to the designated areas, teachers should (if possible) carry their roll book, and if time permits, identify each student present in the area.

Once in the sheltered area all persons should assume a protective position by kneeling on their knees and elbows with their foreheads on the floor and covering their heads with their hands. Persons in wheelchairs or other persons who are unable to assume this position should assume whatever position that affords them the most protection. It is recommended that those in wheelchairs not be removed from their wheelchairs, as this will limit their mobility.

If a tornado or other storm should hit the building, persons should remain in the sheltered area until it passes. The area should then be carefully inspected for downed electrical lines and other hazards. Before leaving, the area should be checked for injured persons. If possible, one staff member should remain with the injured while others direct the remainder to predesignated assembly areas. Once in that area, the principal should assign one staff member to insure that emergency help is summoned.

Next, the principal should have a list compiled of the students who are present, those known to be injured and left in the building and those who cannot be located.

If a tornado appears so quickly that the above action cannot be followed, all occupants should seek cover at once. For those inside the building, heavy furniture provides good protection. Interior closets also provide shelter. Once in the sheltered area, persons should assume the protective position.

4. Anyone caught outside should not attempt to run to the building unless he or she is absolutely sure to arrive before the tornado strikes. Instead, the person should take shelter by assuming the protective position on the ground. If a ditch, creek or other depression is close, the person should take shelter in it.

5. If a school bus is caught in the open when a tornado is approaching, the occupants should be escorted to a nearby ditch or other depression where they should lie face down with their hands covering their head.

6. These procedures should be practiced at the building level at least one time each semester.

It is recommended that these drills not be practiced by transportation unless permission is received from the Director of Safety and Security Services and or the Associate Superintendent for District Services.

Students are not to be exposed to danger or inclement weather for the purpose of practicing these procedures.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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