School district receives prestigious safety award

School district receives prestigious safety award

School district receives prestigious safety award

The Humboldt County School District was recognized for safety efforts during a symposium in Reno Nov. 15 where an award was presented to district officials.

According to School Safety Operations Inc. President Jeff Kaye, HCSD was awarded the GATEKEEPER School Safety Award for improvements they made in school safety since the inception of the Nevada Rural School District Collaborative Program in 2014. 

“This is an honor, because we only give one such award yearly and review projects from school and school districts throughout the U.S. and Canada,” Kaye said. 

The award was given to district officials during the International School Safety Institute symposium last month. 

According to HCSD Superintendent Dr. Dave Jensen, school officials took Emergency Operation Plan (EOP) recommendations and developed safety systems throughout the district. He said they were honored to be recognized for those efforts. 

"As a district, we were thrilled to be recognized, understanding that our selection for the GateKeeper Award was based on external reviews of the progress made in the district by school safety experts, and was not submitted by the district,” he said. “Specifically, HCSD has worked in partnership with external partners to review, develop and update our Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) that outlines crisis response for the district, as well as identifying key areas to enhance the safety of our schools.”

Jensen said that in developing and updating the EOP, several areas were recommended as focal points for improvement. 

“Seizing on these recommendations, HCSD made tremendous strides in meeting these recommendations,” he said.

Jensen said specific safety enhancements that have been made over the years include: 

• Securing school perimeters through fencing that provide protection but are also aesthetically pleasing

• Installing "Audio Enhancement" systems in each classroom that allowed for updating our school bell systems, which also allowed for classroom audio improvements, and providing the ability of staff members to record the classroom in cases of safety incidents. 

• Enhancing perimeter school security cameras to enhance student and staff safety

• Placement of cameras on school buses to enhance student safety

• Installation of FOB systems at the District Office and WJHS allowing for electronic entrance at these locations reducing "keys". We have a grant submitted to expand this to all schools.

• Completion of single point of entries throughout the district

• Removal of bushes and other vegetation that provide hiding places and reduce visibility of schools

• Review and annual update of plans at each individual site

• Multiple "table top" exercises to prepare school sites for crisis situations

• Strong partnership with the Winnemucca Police Department and local responders

“As a district, the safety and security of our staff and students is essential. Each of the areas that we have highlighted to enhance our safety were high level priorities for administration and the Board of Trustees. To be recognized by outside agencies for the work that has been completed provides a sense of pride to the district and we are so appreciative of being recognized for this work."