Recent lockdowns lead to questions on procedure

Radhika Munshani, News Editor

Recent lockdowns have brought about questions regarding the different types of stages and procedures used. Anytime a lockdown is called, school administrators set a School Safety Plan into motion to ensure the safety of students.To clear up any confusion, The Voice has composed a brief breakdown of all the types of lockdowns and what they call for.

There are two actions that are often grouped together as a lockdown, shelter-in-place and lockdowns. Shelter-in-place warnings are enacted when there is concerning activity in the Irvington or Newark area, but not any action close enough that it presents an impending threat. When a shelter-in-place is called, proper procedure actually doesn’t concern students very much. The exterior gates to the school are secured, but classes are not affected. The only slight inconvenience to students is that an adult escort is required to go to the bathroom, and it may be difficult to leave school for any appointment or to go home.

Shelter-in-place warnings can soon shift to lockdowns if there is any police activity within the Irvington area or anytime the police department deems appropriate. During lockdowns, teachers and staff are immediately notified and have to act quickly. Doors must be locked, lights must be turned off, and students must be quiet and inside the classrooms. In the rare event that administrators are unable to reach or notify staff or students, it’s important to act appropriately given these instructions and be able to adapt to the situation. Especially if a student is alone at the time of a lockdown, it’s up to his or her own volition to act accordingly to best ensure his or her own safety.

During lockdowns, students cannot leave their classrooms no matter what. This includes trips to the bathroom or leaving for appointments. However, each classroom is well-prepared with emergency equipment and supplies, so this measure should not grow excessively inconvenient. Lockdowns are usually not for very long anyway, with a few exceptions in recent years, but even so, teachers, staff, and parents are always kept well-informed through School Loop emails.

A short while ago, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, Irvington was placed under lockdown and shelter-in-place alerts in quick successions. Since the situation was changing rapidly, and it’s relation to Irvington was consequently not stable, many were confused at the sudden notification of Lockdown or Shelter-in-Place. Hopefully, these descriptions make it easier to differentiate between the two, and help you to be more informed should a similar situation arise in the near future.

It’s important to remember that lockdowns are always carried out with local law enforcement. The Fremont Police Department and Irvington administrators are in contact before, during, and after a lockdown to ensure the situation and area is safe enough to resume normal school life.

Lockdowns are rare occurrences, but it’s important to be well-informed on procedures and types to be able to act appropriately should the the situation where they’re needed arise.