‘It’s good to have that peace of mind’: LPS students and parents practice reunification
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - It’s something no parent wants to happen, their child facing a threat while they’re at school. While Lincoln Public Schools always hopes to avoid that, they’re trying to make sure everyone is prepared.
The district’s reunification process happens when a student has to be evacuated from their school for something like a fire, gas leak, or potentially something worse.
On Thursday, students from Saratoga Elementary School and their parents or guardians were able to participate in a practice drill of the plans.
“You just never know, anything can happen,” said Gina Cookus, a Saratoga mom.
The drill was held at Lincoln Southwest High School, the district’s primary reunification site. To help staff run through the process of getting students safely to their parents during a threat or emergency.
“It was really nice to get to run through it once and or a couple of times,” Cookus said. “Just learn the flow of things, if something like this were to happen in the schools.”
Cookus has a second grader, Remy, who was also at the drill.
Parents like Cookus, and Union College Students who played the role of parents, were tasked with checking in with staff. Then a runner went to get their student so they could be reunited.
“What I saw today is extraordinarily valuable,” said LPS Superintendent Dr. Paul Guasman.
He said Thursday that it’s important for the drills to be realistic.
“We have actual students and parents working with us to learn how to better engage in a reunification plan,” Dr. Gausman said.
Lincoln police were also on hand as well as fire and rescue. The two entities worked with LPS’s security coordinator to figure out what worked, and what didn’t.
As a parent, Cookus hopes the practice is never needed but she is glad the district is ready.
“It’s just good to have that peace of mind,” Cookus said.
While Thursday’s goal was mostly focused on the role parents and staff play, the goal is to launch a more full-scale drill to further test resources and make sure students know what to do.
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