In the wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, the school department has teamed with the Town of Coventry, Coventry Police and Fire Departments to review and assess school safety and security. Early after this event, the District Safety & Security Committee met to begin the process.
Coventry school and town leadership take action to build safer and more secure schools.
- Restructuring the Front Office Entrance Ways
- Panic Buttons
- Identification Badges for All Employees
- Surveillance Monitors that display and record in color
- Intercom System
- Surveillance System at Coventry High School
- Comprehensive Review of Lockdown & Evacuation Procedures
- Outside Entry-Way Barriers
- Internal Door Locks
Detail police officers have been placed at the elementary schools while the Action Plan is being implemented. (Detail officers will be relieved from duty as the plan is implemented at each elementary school.) The middle and high school each have a School Resource Officer on a daily basis.
A School Safety & Security Forum will be held on Wednesday, January 30th at 6:30 p.m. at Coventry High School.
The Coventry Public School’s District Safety & Security Committee has met twice in recent weeks to review school safety and security structures, systems, policies, procedures and practices. The Committee has developed an Action Plan to build safer and more secure schools.
At Thursday’s meeting, the following plans were approved and expected to be completed:
- Restructuring the Front Office Entrance Ways – Front office entry points at all elementary schools and the middle school will be restructured to create a vestibule where visitors will have restricted access to the building while being checked-in to the school. (Coventry High School already has a vestibule structure in place.) In most cases, the restructuring requires installation of additional doorways limiting access to corridors.
- Panic Buttons – Panic buttons currently exist in all schools. The access to activate the buttons in schools will be increased significantly. Activation of a panic button sends immediate notification to emergency response personnel (police and fire). Panic buttons will also be linked to the school intercom system to immediately notify teachers, staff, students and visitors that a lockdown is in place.
- Identification Badges for All Employees – All employees will be issued identification badges to be worn throughout the school day so the school community and emergency personnel can identify employees during the school day and in emergency situations. Maintenance and custodial staff will also be issued school department uniforms.
- Surveillance Monitors – Surveillance monitors will be installed in the front office at each school so front office staff can identify visitors in a more descriptive manner. Monitors will record in color.
- Intercom System – The intercom system at Western Elementary School will be replaced. The current system is limited and struggles to support the design of the building.
- Surveillance System at Coventry High School – A school-wide surveillance system at Coventry High School will be updated. Coventry High School offers some unique challenges with the school size and layout. Surveillance allows for the School Resource Officer to monitor doorways and corridors. The system also records and thus provides opportunity for school and emergency personnel to conduct investigations.
- Lockdown & Evacuation Procedures – Lockdown and evacuation procedures will be reviewed and revised as necessary. Current plans are very effective. However, a comprehensive review and alignment with Rhode Island Emergency Management guidelines and Rhode Island Law – Health and Safety of Pupils (16-21-23) will be completed. Lockdown procedures will be practiced a minimum of two times within the next 30 days.
- Outside Entry-Way Barriers – Jersey barriers will be positioned strategically at some schools to prevent vehicles from approaching the front doors.
- Internal Door Locks – All non-instructional areas (ie. cafeteria) will be outfitted with locking doors. All classrooms currently have doors that lock.
The District Safety & Security Committee will meet again in mid-February to review our progress, receive updates from subcommittees, and identify next steps.