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Letter to Parents and the Community

Parents and Community members,

               This notice is to inform you of upcoming possible events and practices we are currently engaged with and also some of our future plans.  This letter will also be placed on our website and on our district Facebook page.

               First, with the amount of rainfall we have received and expected to receive in the next couple of days, Valley High School will serve as a Red Cross shelter if needed.  If we should have to shelter evacuees, the following will take place:  The unfortunate people of this disaster would be confined to our gymnasium with a Red Cross shelter manager overseeing all activity.  One door will be specified for use concerning all victims and Red Cross employees.  All entry and exits will use the one designated door and will be checked in and out.  We will also have monitors in the hallway by the gym to ensure no contact with students will occur.  Our hope is this does not need to be used this week.

               The second topic concerns school safety and our emergency plans utilized by the district.  This is a topic our administrative team discusses on a regular basis.  The staff has spent full days of Professional Development the last two years learning and planning the process for an unfortunate incident.  This letter will attempt to ensure you of details that have been put in place and what the next couple of weeks will bring for protection of the students and staff in the Valley School District.  As it will be difficult to capture all the activities in this note, please understand we have not been sitting idly by and not preparing.  Below are some steps taken to prepare.

  • =        We have had 2 full days of Professional Development meetings for staff members.  Outside professional presenters have worked with us on those particular days.
  • =        We have had first responders in our building the last two years.
  • =        All four Emergency Operation Plans (buildings-3, district-1) submitted via online SAFE portal in June and approved by Ohio Homeland Security in July.
  • =        These plans were reviewed with staff and aides at opening day PD this year.
  • =        All staff members discussed with their students how to barricade, and discussed items in the classroom to use as a distractor in case a person were to enter the classroom.
  • =        Attended meetings at SOCF and had discussions at length with them for support if needed.
  • =        We had a full scale evacuation drill last spring; we have another full scale Safety drill planned for April of this year.   This event was scheduled in conjunction with first responders in September.
  • =        We have had a Table Top exercise, which included 9 district members.  There is another exercise scheduled for next week that will include 15-18 district staff members.
  • =        We currently have 56 cameras throughout our district recording inside and outside of the buildings.
  • =        Social Emotional Learning (SEL) – focus of teachers, guidance counselors, and Southern Ohio Behavioral Health counselors.
  • Things we are discussing and/or planning to do:
  • =        Supply each room a secondary door barricade; this would be an extra support for the classroom doors.  We have premium doors and lock systems, and these additional deterrents would stop an intruder if they had a key.
  • =        Place shatter resistant film on all exterior door glass and inside on the office windows.
  • =        Establish computer programs in the principal offices to have the ability to unlock exterior doors from a secure place.
  • =        Utilize our phone system to deliver messages to each of the classrooms; this would be if we did not want to use the intercom systems.
  • =        Staff members will review with their students the room barricade system this week and how to protect themselves.
  • =        We are going to alter our substitute teacher check in policy.
  • =        The district may purchase clear back packs for students, the back packs would be used on a daily basis.

This could be one of the most difficult letters to prepare, not because of the information or items listed, but because of the reason it needs to be written.  It is hard to believe that educating children now entails developing plans to protect them from outside forces we never thought imaginable.

        We would ask that you please be cognizant of your child’s social media usage, know where and what they are exploring on the web.  As we continue to teach our students to inform us of items that worry them, we encourage you to do the same.  Please contact the school if you notice changes in your child’s behavior or attitude or if you child confides in you of a classmate that may be experiencing a change.  We have resources to assist with the issues.  Also, the information is appreciated in assisting us in investigating or preventing incidents at school.    

In most of the previous incidents there were students or adults who knew of events leading up to the event and some of the events have been prevented and others have not.  We live in a great community!  Together we can continue be proud of the accomplishments of our students.

Scott Rolfe

Valley Local Superintendent

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Valley Local Elementary | 1821A St. Rt. 728, Lucasville, OH 45648 | Phone: 740-259-2611 | Fax: 740-259-6645
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Valley Local School District | 1821 State Route 728 Lucasville, Ohio 45648 | Phone: 740 - 259-3115 | Fax: 740-259-2314