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Secure School - emergency procedure

This is a moderate level of response to a threat. This emergency procedure will be initiated when a potential threat exists inside or outside of the building. Staff and students must remain inside their classrooms with the doors closed and locked. All exterior school doors and windows will also be locked. Students who are outside the building or their classroom will be directed immediately to the closest classroom or safe area of the building.


Reasons for initiating Secure School

  • emergency situation inside the school where people moving around might prevent authorities from doing their job (police, fire, medical)
  • incident involving emergency response close to the school (traffic accident with serious injuries)
  • investigation of a bomb threat, but immediate evacuation is not required
  • an intruder is suspected to be a possible threat to staff or student safety
  • possible life-threatening situation which has not yet been investigated or confirmed
  • any other circumstance where the school principal needs to ensure student safety

What happens in the classroom

Teachers reassure students that there is no imminent threat inside the school and that they are safe while they remain inside the classroom.

  • exterior school doors and windows are locked
  • lights stay on and the classroom door is closed and locked
  • regular classroom instruction continues
  • students are not allowed to leave the classroom
  • medical or washroom emergencies are addressed individually by teachers
If a student has an urgent medical or biological need, teachers will call the main office to ask for help from an available staff member. This staff member will bring food to the classroom if needed, or escort students to the washroom.

Communicating with parents

Students are not allowed to leave the building. Parents, students or outside visitors will not be allowed to enter the school. Parents will receive an email and/or phone call indicating that a Secure School has been initiated. Another message will be sent out once it has ended. If the situation changes to an active threat where serious injury or death is imminent or occurring, Lockdown procedures will be initiated.
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The procedures were formed in partnership with the Ottawa Police Service, and are based on the Guidelines for Developing and Maintaining Lockdown Procedures for Schools in Ontario.

How we communicate

SchoolConnects is one of the communication tools used by the OCSB. It sends out emails and/or phone calls to our parents from contact information listed in our student database. A SchoolConnects message can be pushed out by individual schools to their own school communities, or the Board may send out a message to all OCSB parents.