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West Valley City Journal

Drills held at Magna school prepare parents and students for emergency situation

Nov 22, 2021 02:37PM ● By Summer Seschillie

Students and teachers practice the reunification drill in the gymnasium in October. (Summer Seschillie/City Journals)

By Summer Seschillie | [email protected]

On Oct. 13, at Lake Ridge Elementary in Magna, administrators, staff, parents and partnering agencies practiced for the school district’s biggest emergency drill to date. 

“We would anticipate using a reunification drill in an active shooter situation, where we need to evacuate a building site,” said Ben Horsley, the communications director for Granite School District. “We’ve used these in the past for gas leaks or other situations where the building is not able to be occupied. So that’s what this drill is for, is to kind of help educate us on how that process works, and some things we can do to fix that, to make any adjustments as necessary.” 

As part of this emergency drill, students would be transported and led to a designated area outside of the school building. For this particular school, their designated spot would have been a local church building nearby. Parents would then be notified through their permitted form of correspondence, and then be able to pick up their children at the designated spot. For this practice drill, students were led into the school’s gymnasium, along with their teachers and aides. 

“A lot of families that are participating today who can’t get out of work would normally have their child walk home, would be notified and they hopefully arrange for somebody to come pick up their child,” Horsley said. “I visited with an uncle here earlier who was here to pick up his niece.”

The local fire and police department, along with medical responders awaited outside, ready to assist with any help the students, staff or administrators would need, should it be a real emergency. 

“It’s important because in an emergency, if it’s the first time you’ve done anything, it never works out perfectly, so it’s important to allow the teachers and allow the staff to practice what our plan is in place so that they have an understanding of how it works,” said Roger Brooks, the emergency manager for the Granite School District. “The plan is to reunify every student in our school with their parents safely and make sure that they’re getting to the right parent or the right guardian. In any emergency, our No. 1 priority is to keep those kids safe.”