In the event of an emergency situation it sometimes becomes necessary to take additional precautions for the safety and security of our students. While I realize this may be an inconvenience and heighten the anxiety of parents, we make decisions in conjunction with and under the direction of law enforcement. Trust me when I say that every effort is made to keep parents and stakeholders apprised of a situation. Sometimes these situations are in a fluid state with information changing rapidly. Our efforts are focused on supporting the students, staff and environment of affected schools at any given point.
Communication is always critical in the event of a potential storm or other emergency. We have numerous ways to communicate with our parents and staff including our mass communication system Blackboard Connect that has the capability to use voice and text messaging and email; the school district website at www.stjohns.k12.fl.us where any alerts will be posted on the homepage; and the district’s Twitter account as well as Remind, a texting communication systems for classroom, club and extracurricular activities.
As we progress through hurricane season and continue to track Tropical Storm Erika, it is a good time to discuss our procedures in responding to inclement weather.
Our schools have all conducted emergency evacuation drills and are prepared to move students to the safest environment possible. In case of emergency, our schools also serve as shelters when evacuations are required locally.
As a district, we work collaboratively with the St. Johns County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and county leaders along with regularly scheduled meetings and constant updates on any impending emergency situation. In doing so, we are in continual communication with all first responders. Additionally, we are linked with the Florida Department of Education and the state EOC if support is need from those entities.
I often get questions about the closing of schools. This decision is one that weighs heavily on our staff, and we seek guidance and direction from the EOC and first responders to make the safest decision possible. The ability to transport our students safely and the capability for our staff and families to travel safely to school is a major factor as is, of course, the availability of power in our buildings.
I must stress that the ultimate decision is yours as a parent. Conditions could vary greatly throughout our county and it is impossible to evaluate every area. I want you to know that I have the utmost trust in the decision you make and will always respect your choice, regardless of whether school is open or not.
Thanks to all of you for an outstanding opening to the school year.
Read the full Superintendent’s Report