York County School Division

Safety & Security

The safety of the school environment where your children spend much of their day is a top priority for the York County School Division. The start of the school year is a good time to review safety information with your child.

Staff work in partnership with national, state, and local safety officials – police, fire, emergency medical services, and public health to ensure our schools are well prepared for a variety of emergencies. All schools have comprehensive crisis plans, which are developed in conjunction with safety officials. These plans are reviewed and updated annually. In general, each plan involves the designation of an emergency incident management team; development of evacuation, reverse evacuation, shelter-in-place, and lockdown procedures.

Evacuation occurs when students and staff must leave the building due to a potentially hazardous situation inside the school, such as a fire alarm.

Lockdown is implemented to secure school buildings and grounds due to a potentially threatening situation in or near the school, such as an intruder. All exterior and interior doors remain locked, all school business and classroom instruction ceases, and all cell phones are silenced.

Modified Lockdown is initiated to protect students and staff from a potential danger outside the school, such as police activity in the area. Normal instructional and business activities continues inside the school, while outdoor activity and access to and from the building is limited.

Hold in Place is used to temporarily clear all hallways and limit movement in the building while staff respond to a situation, such as a medical emergency or disruptive student.

The division will not dismiss any students during an emergency until it is safe to do so. In certain circumstances, students may be transported to an alternate location for reunification.

School Drills

Over the course of the school year, schools will hold several drills to help ensure that students and staff know what to do in the event of an emergency. These drills include, but are not limited to, fire, tornado and lockdown. Drills are not typically announced to students and staff prior to taking place to accurately assess emergency response procedures.

Reporting Safety Concerns

Students, families and staff are encouraged to share in the responsibility for a safe and orderly school environment. Information about drugs, weapons, bullying and cyber bullying behaviors or other factors, which may be harmful to the school environment should be reported. If you or your child see something out of the ordinary or concerning, there are multiple ways this information can and should be shared:

Report it. It takes everyone to keep our schools safe. For emergencies, always call 911. Tell a trusted adult. Call the YCSD Hotline at 757-890-5000. Report on the YCSD App or online at yorkcountyschools.org/ReportIt

Reports made through the HOTLINE or ReportIt form are reviewed daily and investigated by the proper authorities. All calls are confidential.

Family Information

Access to school facilities may be limited during an emergency as it may be necessary to keep the streets and parking lot clear for emergency vehicles. If it is hazardous for students to be released, everyone will be kept inside the school until notified by the authorities that it is safe outside. Schools will act with the safety of students in mind, and school officials will always follow the directives of emergency personnel.

Families are asked not to call or come to a school during an emergency. We understand and respect your concern, but it is essential that the telephone system is available for emergency communications and that staff are handling their emergency roles.

Principals and division administrators will inform families of events if:

  • There is a potential threat to the students, staff, or the building
  • There is an interruption to the school's daily routine
  • There is a high level of discussion, inquiry, rumor or misinformation

When a situation warrants communication from the school or the division, families will be contacted either by Blackboard (the division’s rapid notification system), email, or a letter home. Alerts will also be made via the division's social media sites.

Please make sure that your child's school has your current phone number and/or email address on record to ensure you receive these communications.