Park City School District is continuing its goal to improve safety and security districtwide, in an effort to create a positive learning environment for all students. Here are the projects and programs the district has been working on since our last Safety Update.
Increased Law Enforcement Presence: We hope you have noticed the increased police presence around our schools. The Summit County Sheriff’s Office and Park City Police Department have asked their officers to increase their patrol around our schools, and when possible, to go inside the school and be visible to our students. We are appreciative of law enforcement’s extra efforts on behalf of our students and staff.
Safety Report Presented to Board: Cole Smith, a safety and security expert with the Tresit Group, presented the Board of Education with his analysis of district safety protocols on Feb. 27. Smith, a former Special Agent for the Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, submitted a report that includes recommendations for the following: visitor access policy, background checks, lessons learned from drills and areas of improvement, historical threats in Utah and best practices for school safety, future training for staff, access control and perimeter, and modular classroom threat assessment.
The report states: “All eight schools in the district would be among the top schools for safety posture and preparedness in the State of Utah based on frequency of drills, school involvement in safety planning, community engagement, and social upgrades for access control.”
Smith said the current steps being taken by the district to improve safety procedures, visitor access, and perimeter security are in line with best practices.
The full report can be viewed here.
Elementary Front Offices: Based on recommendations from the Tresit Group, we have worked with architects to redesign the elementary school front offices. The revised drawings should be finalized the first week of April.
“I am disappointed that we have not been able to finish the front office vestibules with the proposed timelines,” said Superintendent Ember Conley. “We have had delays due to changes in Utah Procurement, difficulty in receiving materials, and changes in contractors. This delay has also allowed to get a second opinion of the designs from the Tresit Group which will provide schools with even more security.”
–McPolin Elementary: We are expanding the front counter and adding two additional doors to ensure secretary visibility.
–Jeremy Ranch and Parley’s Park Elementaries: Finishing floor molding, adding a door and wiring entry for speakers.
–Trailside: Adding an additional door and wiring entry for speakers.
The Board is discussing the need for additional security at the schools until the front offices are complete the end of May. The Tresit Group recommends leveraging local law enforcement. Work on secondary school offices will begin in June.
Door Lockdowns/Panic Buttons: In February, we once again tested the door lockdowns and front office panic buttons throughout the district to ensure they are all in working condition.
Visitor Management System: Beginning next school year, all visitors to our schools will be required to enter through the main/front door of the building and report to the front office to sign in and receive a visitor badge. Visitors will be asked to submit their driver’s license or other valid form of government-issued identification containing a photograph to obtain a visitor pass. Valid forms of ID include a current driver’s license or state-issued identification card from any of the 50 states, U.S. passport card, Active Military ID, or other government-issued identification containing a photograph. There may be other cases that do not fit into these areas; they will be handled case by case, at the discretion of the Principal or Superintendent.
PCSD is currently testing visitor management systems that can scan I.D.s and automatically allow visitors into the front office. A final recommendation will be made the first week of April, and purchase will begin through procurement in mid-April. The last week of April the district will begin training and communication for the new visitor system. The system will be consistent at all PCSD schools. Once the system is purchased, we will have a soft launch later this spring.
Fencing at Elementary Schools: The district is in the process of receiving bids for fencing at each school. Construction will begin once the weather becomes warmer and the ground is dry and ready for concrete work. The Tresit Group is reviewing the location and security of proposed gates. We hope to begin installation the week of April 16.
New Legislation: The district is coordinating with the Tresit Group on the new legislation passed this session regarding hardware height and provisions for locks and bolt locks that are used in a school lockdown or lockdown drills. This change in the law will allow for use of newer classroom door lock technology that previously did not meet building and fire code standards.
Mental Health: An important component of school safety is school culture, school counseling, and mental health issues. The district has increased school counselors and social worker counselors to support families and students. We have also doubled the number of nurses in the district, enhanced community partnerships with Communities That Care and the Summit County Health Department. PCSD is also an engaged partner in the Summit County Mental Wellness Alliance that works to improve awareness about mental health and substance abuse. The Board of Education is continuing to provide more resources to assist with the mental wellness of students.
Next Safety Drill: The district will continue to conduct safety drills on a monthly basis. We will no longer provide advance notice to students, staff, or parents in an effort to practice under more “real-time” scenarios. The Great Utah Shakeout (earthquake drill) is April 19 and all schools will be participating.
See Something, Say Something: Parents and teachers, please continually remind your students if they see something that seems odd or out of the ordinary, they should report it to you or school administration. If it happens outside of school hours, immediately contact the Park City Police or Summit County Sheriff’s Office (depending on where you reside). Once we are notified of something suspicious, we immediately involve law enforcement and begin the process of investigating the tip.
SafeUT App: The SafeUT app is a statewide crisis text and tip line that provides real-time crisis intervention to youth through texting and a confidential tip program. While the main thrust of this program has been crisis counseling and suicide prevention, the app can be used to report bullying issues as well as potential school safety threats or related issues. It’s been reported that tips shared through the SafeUT app have already prevented dozens of planned acts of violence at Utah schools.
Teacher Possession of Firearms: As per state law, teachers and administrators are allowed to have concealed weapons in their possessionat school, as long as they meet the requirements outlined in state code. There is no requirement that administrators ask their teachers whether or not they are permit holders and/or whether they carry within the schools.