SAFETY AT WALNUT AVENUE SCHOOL
The beginning of the new school year is always a good time for some reminders about safety at and around our school. Please take a moment and look over the following information:
Staff members report for door duty at 8:30 AM each day. Parents are cautioned about leaving children unsupervised before this time. We will continue our practice of allowing students to wait for a “brief” time immediately inside the various entrances when the weather is inclement. However, parents are advised against arriving too early (certainly not before 8:20 AM) and should remain with their child until teachers arrive at doors at 8:30 AM. Once teachers arrive parents are encouraged to leave to alleviate any congestion in the halls. Parents are also discouraged from accompanying students down the halls to their classrooms.
Children are escorted by teachers to the various dismissal points each day. Staff members are expected to supervise dismissal to ensure that students safely exit building and are picked up by the appropriate adult. Parents are reminded to complete and update all emergency information forms listing names and contacts of all responsible adult guardians. Please take the time to inform your child’s teacher of any changes in your normal dismissal routine. Take a moment to write a note whenever you wish to have your child picked up by someone other than yourself or the person you’ve normally designated. If you find that you are running late, call the school and we will have your child report to the office to wait. All doors will continue to be locked after dismissal time and parents/ children who want to re-enter the building to use the bathrooms or water fountains will need to ring buzzer to gain admittance. Please try to minimize these return visits to the building.
Although parents are allowed to bring dogs onto school property, they must be leashed and under control at all times. Parents are discouraged from bringing pets, leashed or otherwise, close to large groups of children. This is especially important near entrance and dismissal points. Although we are “pet friendly” we must be sensitive to the fact that many young children are fearful of dogs. Your cooperation in this matter is appreciated.
Visiting During the Day:
During most of the school day, access to the building is only possible through the North Entrance (First Grade Doors). All visitors must buzz to be admitted to the building. All visitors will be asked about the purpose of their visit and will be required to sign in and secure a visitor’s pass in the office.
- Crossing guards are on duty each day on Walnut Avenue and Denman Road. Please be sure to instruct your child to cross with the guards using the designated crosswalks. This especially important on Walnut Avenue. Parents should resist the temptation to cross in the middle of the roadway directly opposite the entrance. PLEASE WALK TO THE CORNER AND CROSS WITH THE GUARD. New crossing signals have been installed here to further ensure pedestrian safety.
- Absolutely no stopping or standing is allowed in the single lane driveway leading from Walnut Avenue to the rear of the building. The dropping off of students anywhere along the roadway is prohibited. This includes drop offs near the kindergarten entrance in the rear of the building.
- Staff Parking: The middle section of the parking lot directly behind the school building is RESERVED for staff. Parents are asked to refrain from using these spaces marked as reserved.
- Parents bringing their children to school by car are directed to park their cars in either of two locations: a) Along Walnut Avenue or b) In the parking lot near the rear of the soccer field (Entrance to this lot is from Denman Road.)
- Parents may drop off children in the Staff Parking lot directly behind the school building if there are spaces available. However, parking along the fence near the parking lot entrance is prohibited. Please keep this area clear.
- Unauthorized vehicles should not park in the Handicapped Parking areas.
- Anti-Idling is the Law in NJ! Never leave vehicles unattended with engines running. Never leave young children unattended in parked cars.
PLAY GROUND SAFETY:
With the arrival of warm weather, many parents opt to remain with their children on the fields and playground following dismissal each day. This is as it should be and we want everyone to have a safe and enjoyable time playing and socializing. That being said, we would like to remind all parents of the need to be especially vigilant when supervising children on school grounds after 3 PM.
Parents should always strive to keep their children in direct line of sight when on the playground and fields. Rough play, fighting, tackle type games and any sort of unsafe behavior on the playground equipment should not be tolerated. Parents are also advised to keep their children away from the aluminum bleachers located near the soccer fields. Climbing or playing on these bleachers can be hazardous and parents should warn all children to stay clear of these at all times.
We, for our part, will do our best to reinforce these rules by speaking to the children in our classrooms. However, our ability to supervise children on the playground after 3 PM is obviously limited. We need your help to ensure the safety of our students and are confident that each of you will take this message seriously. We think it is important for our students to have the opportunity to play outdoors and hope, with your help, to be able to create a safe environment for them to exercise and interact with their peers.
CRISIS DRILLS and FIRE DRILLS:
You should know that we have developed a series of protocols for responding to a variety of emergency situations. These include fire drills, lock downs and different types of building evacuations. We practice these at least 2 times a month and we do our best not alarm our children and help them understand that these are precautions we take to keep us all safe.
In the event there is a genuine emergency or crisis situation, parents will be notified as soon as practical. Please keep in mind that our main objective during a crisis is to attend to the health and welfare of your children.
In most emergencies, your children will remain and be cared for at the school they attend. In the rare event of an emergency that prohibits reentry to a school building (such as a broken gas or water main, a fire, or a toxic spill), elementary students will be transported via school transportation or walk to the nearest and most appropriate school building. In our case, this would be Livingston Avenue School. High School students will be dismissed to return home for the day.
We ask that you follow this procedure if you hear of any school emergency:
- TURN ON YOUR RADIO OR TELEVISION. We will keep the media informed of any emergency.
- PLEASE DO NOT TELEPHONE THE SCHOOL. We have limited phone lines. These MUST be used to respond to an emergency.
- PLEASE DO NOT COME TO THE SCHOOL UNLESS YOU ARE DIRECTED TO PICK UP YOUR CHILD. Any emergency involving your child’s school may mean emergency vehicles and workers must be able to get to the building. If the emergency necessitates relocation of staff and students, you will be informed via the media.
SCHOOL CLOSINGS AND DELAYED OPENINGS:
Occasionally, there will be a good reason to shorten the school day, not to open school on a particular day or to make some other emergency alteration to the schedule. Some reasons for the school closing include:
- Severe storms
- Plant failures
- Extraordinary staff projects
- Energy problems
- Death of a prominent person
- Direction from the State Department of Education
- Other unforeseen emergency reasons
Delayed Opening of School
If the decision is made to have a delayed opening rather than a closing of school completely due to snow or other conditions, the hours will be as follows:
AM Session: 9:55 AM – 11:55 AM
PM Session: 12:55 PM – 2:55 PM
- Grade One & Grade Two: 9:55 AM – 2:55 PM
Lunch Period: 11:55 AM – 12:55 PM
- Pre-School Programs
Half Day Programs (SNAPPY/ READY)
AM Session: 9:55 AM – 11:55 AM
PM Session: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
- Full Day Self Contained Primary and Preschool Classes
9:55 AM – 2:55 PM
When emergency storm or other conditions make it impossible or unwise to open schools on a scheduled school day, this decision will be made by the Superintendent of Schools and communicated to all interested parties via the media. On mornings when you have a question about school opening, please tune in on radio stations NJ101.5 FM or WBUD 1260 AM as early as 6:30 AM. School closings will also be announced on Cranford’s local access channel TV35.
Parents are also notified of school closings and emergency information by way of the automated Honeywell Instant Alert System. All parents are encouraged to register for this service each year. Information and directions about the Instant Alert System is available in the school office and on the district web site.
Closings Within a School Day
If weather or other emergency conditions make it necessary to close school during the school day, every reasonable attempt will be made to contact parents and guardians. Although a closing time will be specified no child will be released unless a responsible adult party signs for the child. In any emergency closing the safety of our children is paramount. Regardless of the projected closing time, the school will not close until all of our students are safely accounted for. Any parent who wishes to have their child walk home following an emergency closing MUST contact the school office and provide explicit directions regarding how the child will be getting home.
Ultimately, it will be the responsibility of parents to determine whether the health condition of their children or weather conditions are such as to justify keeping them home from school.