As the rest of the nation’s students return to school following the tragedy in Connecticut on Friday, many staff meetings today addressed safety procedures at their schools.
Flags fly at half-staff at Mountain Valley Elementary in Ammon. Parents dropped off kids and faculty members did their best to start this week like any other.
“As horrible as Friday was, and what a horrific thing it is, it doesn’t change inherently how 93 does business,” said Mountain Valley Elementary Principal Brian Armes.
Armes said the procedures they have in place for lockdowns, hall checks and evacuation procedures are already solid protocol to keep their students safe. The school also has regular drills with first responders.
“We have built very tight-knit community relationships with Bonneville Country Sheriff’s (deputies) so we know what to expect from them and they know what to expect from us,” said Armes.
They have worked together to streamline radio communication in emergencies. SWAT teams and law-enforcement officials have even come in after school hours to practice emergency procedures and get intimately familiar with the school layout.
Like many other schools in District 93, Mountain Valley Elementary has a single-point entry.
All visitors walk in through the main set of doors to the foyer. The second set of doors remains permanently locked, which forces visitors to go through the office, sign in and then make their way to classrooms.
“The policies, practices and procedures that we have in place are really what you would consider best practices at this time,” said Armes. He added that once the investigation at Sandy Hook Elementary is complete, officials will look into any information revealed that could help make students at Mountain Valley Elementary safer.