Granite School District holds reunification drill in case of emergency

May 16, 2024, 8:04 PM | Updated: 8:33 pm

WEST VALLEY CITY — Parents at Academy Park Elementary School picked up their students from school in a way they’re not used to.

School administrators, along with Granite School District Police and West Valley City Police guided parents through a reunification drill, something that would go into effect in case of emergency.

“We’re so fortunate to have a district that will support this sort of preparation,” Heidi Draper, principal at Academy Park Elementary, said. “I felt like today went really smoothly.”

Granite School District Emergency Manager Roger Brooks agreed. Brooks said the district aims to host a drill twice a year at different campuses.

“The staff members need to know how to do this in a real emergency,” Brooks said. “And the more you practice them, the better you get at it.”

These drills can go into effect in any kind of emergency, from a gas leak to an earthquake, or something as extreme as an active shooter.

When parents arrive, they fill out a carbon copy paper with their and their child’s information and then line up alphabetically. Once at the front of the line, a runner will take a copy of the parents information inside, locate the child and take the child to the reunification area for parents to pick them up.

15 principals from other campuses also participated. Kathlyn Anderson, the principal at Hunter Elementary, said she will take the lessons learned to her campus.

“Our job here is to prepare so that we can comfort our kids and our parents through that situation. So, I think that the number one thing in our minds, how can we keep our kids safe,” Anderson said.

“This was an opportunity for us to be proactive rather than reactive,” Draper said.

Draper also said communication is key not just with parents but with students too.

“We have a great student body, but I think the more you communicate with your students, with your teachers, with your family and community, the more they understand what’s happening and that keeps the calm,” Draper said.

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Granite School District holds reunification drill in case of emergency