Last Friday Plainwell High School did the first ever reunification drill. It started with the entire school going into a lock down. Students and teachers hide in dark rooms with doors locked, until they were dismissed. After the lock down was over the rest of the school went in a shelter in place. Class continued but teacher and student had to stay in the room. It was the science wing that did the reunification drill.
Most of the students involved played the roll of normal students. About ten other students played the roll of students that would need counseling in the after math.
“I’m glad we practiced this because it made me feel organized and it’s always good to practice,” said Vanessa Robinson ’21.
The main purpose of the reunification drill was to practice and teach students what would happen if there was an event atPlainwell that required an evacuation. The trial used teachers as “parents” who were assigned a student, their “child”, to pick up.
The process was lengthy. It started at the first table where the parent had to show their I.D. and someone that works for the school would have to verify that the child could be picked up by that adult. If the parent is on the list, they will get a piece of paper that must be filled out. While the parent does that the student will get put in a room while waiting for their parent to finish the paperwork.
When the papers are done, the parent will be sent to another table where another staff member will look over and sign off on the papers. Then the parent will be redirected to another table where they can reunite with their child. Finally, the parent and child will take the papers to yet another table. The staff at this table will look over the papers once more. If everything looks good then they’re free to go home. If there is a problem, the parent and child will be separated and the process must start over again.
The school was lucky enough to have a few real parents that were willing to participate in the drill.
“It was scary because this stuff actually happens,” said Scott Macritchie, parent to Plainwell student.
The questions many are asking are, was this successful and is it the most efficient process? Only time and practice will tell. For now, students feel a sense of relief knowing there is a plan.
“I think this was a good practice so we know what would happen in this situation,” Robinson ‘21.
It can be a heavy topic to rehearse and think about but, with students’ and parents’ safety as the top priority, citizens of Plainwell can rest easy knowing precautions are being taken and a protocol is in place.