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Utah County school districts give insight into safety protocols

By Ashtyn Asay - | May 27, 2022

Isaac Hale, Daily Herald file photo

Third grade teacher Madie Treanor instructs her students at East Meadows Elementary School in Spanish Fork during the first day of school for the Nebo School District on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020.

At a time when school safety protocols are on the minds of many, representatives from Utah County’s three school districts have provided information on how schools are working to keep students safe.

Currently Alpine, Nebo, and Provo City school districts all use a standard response protocol, or RSP, from the I Love U Guys Foundation, which provides research-based best practices for schools to follow in the event of an emergency.

This protocol is updated annually. In the event of a threat or weapon inside a school facility, the 2021 guidance calls for students and school employees to lock down by locking doors, turning off lights and remaining out of sight of windows.

Each year, annual SRP training is required at each school in all three public school districts, and emergency protocols are posted in all classrooms.

For more information on the I Love U Guys standard response protocol, visit https://iloveuguys.org/The-Standard-Response-Protocol.html.

Alpine School District

According to David Stephenson, executive director of external relations and communications for Alpine School District, Alpine’s plan for protecting schools, students and employees is based on a three-pronged approach of dedicated resources for physical facilities, social and emotional well-being, and partnership with local law enforcement.

“The district has invested more than $5 million from the 2016 bond committed to school safety enhancements in existing facilities,” Stephenson said. “Some of these efforts include but are not limited to keyless entries, improved door locks on classrooms, secured entrances, camera systems and identification badges. Nearly all schools are on keycard access systems. Front entrance security systems have been installed in all elementary schools.”

Safety enhancements and potential threats are assessed based on each school facility’s layout and entrance points to improve the outcome of potential lockdown situations, according to Stephenson.

“We continue to review procedures and will continue working with local law enforcement agencies, school community councils, parents and other community organizations to ensure the best safety measures as we organize for the upcoming school year,” he said.

Nebo School District

According to Lana Hiskey, communications and community relations coordinator for Nebo School District, Nebo has made advancements in safety and security in recent years, and the safety of all students, employees and schools is a top priority for the district.

“Nebo has invested $11 million dollars to improve our safety and security in a variety of areas including but not limited to: camera systems, identification badges, improved door locks, more secured entrances, security measures in the classrooms and keyless entries,” Hiskey said. “The social and emotional well-being of our students and staff is also important. We have added additional counselors as well as wellness rooms to provide a safe and secure place for students and faculty.”

Nebo School District has partnered with local law enforcement in each of the district’s cities to ensure school safety, Hiskey said, and has added additional resource officers to schools in recent years.

“Nebo has a safety and security team that continues to review procedures and make improvements where needed,” Hiskey said. “We meet on a regular basis to review threat assessments and procedures. We appreciate our local law enforcement’s expertise and insights. They truly are a valuable resource.”

Provo City School District

According to Caleb Price, director of communications for Provo City School District, PCSD is continually reviewing and implementing new plans to keep its students, employees and schools safe.

“Some of these aspects include, but are not in any way limited to, camera (surveillance) systems, interior and exterior doors/locks, visitor management systems, district level and school-level safety committees, coordination with Provo Police and School Resource Officers, coordination with Wasatch Behavioral Health, monitoring and promotion of the SafeUT app and many others,” Price said.

PCSD has partnerships with local law enforcement and other agencies, and each PCSD location has a specific emergency management plan tailored to its needs based on the layout and other site-specific factors.

“This is an area that all levels of district administration and the school board are constantly looking to address and improve,” Price said. “The safety of everyone in our schools is our priority and will continue to be going forward.”

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