District 54’s Severe Weather Response Plan
There will be times when we need to contact families and staff with emergency notifications and important updates. When that happens, District 54 will use many communication tools to ensure that all individuals who need to receive the message, get the message. The information below provides more details about crisis communication.
The safety of the children is the responsibility of both the parents/guardians and school personnel, but the decision to have a child attend school is ultimately made by parents and guardians. When schools are in session, if a student is kept home on a day when the weather is extremely poor, the absence will be considered “excused.” Please call the school and let them know you are keeping your children home.
In emergency situations and for important communications, District 54 uses the ParentSquare rapid notification system to call, text and email every student’s parent/guardian. On extreme weather days, if schools were to be closed, the announcement would be made by 6:30 a.m. at the latest. Please remember to keep your contact information updated and do not unsubscribe from or block these emails.
All families and staff will receive calls, texts and emails whether or not you create a ParentSquare account. However, by creating an account you will be able to change your notification preferences, interact with requests, change your language preferences and see all of the messages previously sent to you, as well as staff directories and other information.
To create a ParentSquare account, go to parentsquare.com/signin and enter the email or cell phone number you provided to your school. ParentSquare also has a free app available on the Apple Store for iPhones or the Google Play Store for Androids. If you click on your name at the top, and then My Account, you can see the contact information we have on file for you, request updates and choose a language for your messages. ParentSquare offers translation to 85 languages.
Websites and Social Media
District 54 will post school cancellations and other information to the District 54 Website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. We will also post information on emergencyclosingcenter.com, the website used by Chicago radio and television stations for school closing information.
When school is in session
If an emergency were to occur at school during the school day, District 54 will contact you. Our first priority is the safety of the children and adults at our buildings. Please be patient and know that we will call, text and email you as soon as we have information to share. Do not attempt to call the school. Telephone lines become extremely busy during an emergency and need to be kept open for emergency use.
Students will be kept at school or at an alternative location (if the school is unsafe) and will be supervised by District 54 employees until their parents/guardians are able to pick them up or until they are dismissed at the regular end of the school day. If it is safe, students will be dismissed in the usual manner (to walk home, board the bus, etc.). If students are moved to another site, parents/guardians will be notified of the site and pick-up procedures.
All bus drivers are trained in emergency procedures. Intercom equipment in their vehicles enables them to maintain communication at all times.
Children will not be dismissed from school when the area is under a tornado warning. Even at the end of the school day, children will be held at school until an all-clear signal is received.
School Crisis Plans
Every District 54 school has a standardized school crisis plan, which is reviewed with all staff and updated on an annual basis. All schools, in cooperation with our local police and fire departments, plan and carry out fire, tornado, bus and crisis response drills each year. For more information about the program at your school, talk to your principal.