Our top priority in any emergency situation is the safety and security of students. One critical aspect of emergency response is an organized and accountable reunification of students with their parents/guardians in the event of a school crisis or emergency. As part of our Emergency Operations Plan (EOP), we have developed detailed evacuation and reunification plans for all of our school campuses. These plans have been shared with our staff and have been rehearsed by students and staff alike.
Parents/guardians are key partners inReunification events. Guardians can ensure the success of reunification operations by reviewing the steps of the plan and discussing these steps with their student. In stressful situations like those that require reunification, prior discussion and review of the plan helps the process run more smoothly and reduces anxiety.
Reunification Instructions for Parents and Guardians
In some circumstances, a Kent ISD school may require parents or guardians to pick up their students in a formalized, controlled and planned release. This process is called Reunification.
A Reunification may be necessary due to weather, a power outage, hazardous material spill or because a crisis occurred at the school. The Reunification process may occur at the school or at a designated site near the school. The following plan addresses what parents and guardians can expect when they arrive to pick up their student during Reunification.
Notification of a Reunification operation
Parents and guardians may be notified of a Reunification in a number of ways. Kent ISD uses a system called School Messenger to send notifications to students, guardians, and our staff concerning emergency situations. School Messenger uses the email account and phone number in PowerSchool to send an email, text message, and telephone call to the parent or guardian listed. In order to receive these notifications, guardians must ensure their contact information in PowerSchool is correct.
In addition to School Messenger, we may post messages on Kent ISD and/or specific school social media platforms depending on the circumstances of the incident.
Reunification at school
There are a variety of situations that may require students to be dismissed from school before the end of the school day. In most instances, parents/guardians will reunify with students at school after being notified via School Messenger, and possibly Kent ISD social media, where specifically they should report to pick up their student at the school.
Reunification for students who drive
Students who drive to school will be allowed to leave the school or campus with their vehicle when possible. Students will be expected to contact their guardian and go directly to their residence. There may be instances where students will not be allowed to remove a vehicle from the school parking lot. In these cases, guardians will need to go to the school or Reunification Site to pick up their student.
Activation of a Reunification Site
Situations may arise in which reuniting parents/guardians with their students at the school is not a safe option. In these situations, parents and guardians will be directed to a Reunification Site near the school. Guardians will be notified of this location via School Messenger text, email and phone call. At the Reunification Site, Kent ISD will implement a formalized and controlled process of accounting for and releasing students.
At the Reunification Site
Please remain calm and patient. Incidents that lead to the activation of a Reunification are extremely stressful for everyone involved - students and staff alike - and your patience is important for maintaining a smooth operation.
There are three very important things for parents/guardians to remember:
- Parents/guardians will be required to show picture identification in order to pick up their student;
- Students will not be released to a person unless that person is listed as a “Parent/Guardian” or an “Emergency Contact” in PowerSchool; and
- Parents/guardians will not be allowed inside the Reunification site for security reasons
Upon arrival at the Reunification Site expect these steps -
A Kent ISD staff member will approach the guardian’s vehicle and ask to see a picture ID
- The staff member will record your name, ensure you match the photo on the ID, and take down information on the vehicle you are driving
- The staff member will ask you to relocate to a waiting area in the parking lot
- The staff member will return to the building to retrieve your student who will be escorted to your vehicle in the waiting area
- The staff member will once again check your ID to ensure you are the person pictured
- The staff member will record your name and phone number on the Student Receipt Card and ask you to sign and date the card
Once this is complete, you are free to leave the Reunification Site with your student.
Delayed student release at Reunification
Some students may not be released to their parent/guardian immediately. Students who witnessed an incident may need to be interviewed by law enforcement officials, others may need time to speak with a school counselor and some may be receiving medical attention on site. All of these can take time and may delay the release of a student. In these instances, Kent ISD staff will inform and update guardians of the situation as appropriate.
If a parent/guardian cannot immediately pick up their student
If a guardian cannot go to the Reunification Site, their student will only be released to individuals previously identified as emergency contacts. If an emergency contact has not been designated, students will be held until their guardian can arrive at the Reunification Site.
Responding to media requests
Members of the media may be at the Reunification Site and will be directed to a ‘media corral’ away from where students and guardians are reuniting. However, some reporters may approach you for an interview. You are within your rights to participate in an interview, but are under no obligation to do so.
Depending on the situation, a reunification may occur at the school. This is an option if the campus is safe and reunification operations will not interfere with an investigation or other emergency responses.
If it is not safe to remain on campus or when parents coming to the school could create an additional hazard, reunification operations will be set up off-campus. All Kent ISD operated schools have designated evacuation and reunification sites that building administrators and staff are familiar with. In the event of an off-campus reunification operation, parents/guardians will be notified via School Messenger text, email and phone call, the location of the reunification site. Notifications may also be made via Kent ISD and/or school specific social media accounts.
Parents/guardians are strongly encouraged to follow the notifications sent to them or posted on social media. Please do not respond to the school. The arrival of parents/guardians on campus may hamper the efforts of first responders and hinder reunification efforts.