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Pittsford Schools' Staff Members Practice Standard Reunification Method

staff lining up  principals practicing parent check in process staff at tables

At the April 2024 Superintendent’s Conference Day, the entire District took part in an important training of the Standard Reunification Method. This critical aspect of crisis response allows for accountable reunification of students with their parents or guardians in the event of an emergency incident that requires the evacuation of one or more buildings. The Standard Reunification Method, from the “I Love You Guys” Foundation, provides school and district staff members with proven methods for planning and practicing successful parent/guardian and child reunification.

With two teams, “Transportation” and “Reunification,” staff learned what their role would be during an incident if a complete building evacuation becomes necessary. During the training last month, staff members simulated an evacuation and took on the roles of process checkpoint people, students and parents/guardians.

During a reunification process, the Transportation Team is responsible for accounting for students in their classroom and school and guiding them to school buses. The school buses then transport the students and staff members to a secondary location that has already been established by the District.

While students and staff are being transported, the Reunification Team sets up computer system checkpoints, materials and snacks. Once students and staff arrive, they are escorted to a waiting area where some form of entertainment and nutrition will be provided while they wait for reunification. Students remain with the teacher who accounted for them on their roster.

Parents/guardians are asked to not go to the affected school during any emergency incident. Students will not be released at this site. The address of the secondary location will be shared with parents. The process of accounting for all students and staff members is a lengthy one. No student will be reunified with their parent/guardian until all students are accounted for. Parents/guardians will be asked to wait in line while this process is underway. While in line, they will complete an information form including their child(ren)’s name(s). This process could take hours, but nothing is more important than ensuring that students are reunited properly through a strict chain of custody.

Next, parents will bring their completed reunification card and photo identification to a checker who confirms that they are approved to pick up the child(ren) listed on the card. At this time a staff member will escort the identified child(ren) from the supervised waiting area to the parent/guardian. A school leader will assist families as they exit.

To view a video explaining this process from the parent’s perspective, please visit https://www.pittsfordschools.org/Page/613.

Throughout the entire reunification process, mental health services and victim services will be available for students, staff and parents.

The District regularly practices emergency evacuation plans for various situations, including extreme weather, chemical spills, medical emergencies, bomb threats, and active shooter scenarios. The Standard Reunification Method will be an integral part of these plans.