Albemarle County Public Schools to strengthen crisis response

Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 4:35 PM EST
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - In efforts to strengthen crisis response, Albemarle County Public Schools, the local government, and Albemarle County Fire Rescue are joining forces. The leaders of these organizations say it is an important union because if a crisis does happen in county schools, they want to be prepared.

“We did have recently a shooting at the University of Virginia, being in the wake of that is a wake up call,” Superintendent Matt Haas said.

“We’ve got experts from state and federal levels along with our local folks, our local leaders, and we’re focusing on community safety and well being,” Albemarle County Executive Jeff Richardson said.

One of the big focuses of Friday’s closed door session was what educators are being encouraged to do in active shooter situation.

Students are to run and then hide, while teachers are being asked to fight. What exactly that means, and how teachers would be expected to fulfill it, was not answered.

“In many ways [it] can lead to a greater sense of safety, because it’s empowering to have a response and not just shelter in place and wait for wait for the authorities to arrive,” Richardson said.

They say there will also be coordination on a higher level between schools, rescue squads, and police.

“In the event that we have the unthinkable occur, seconds matter, and so the way that we can be the most efficient is to practice to work together so that I can look across a parking lot and I can identify who a school administrator may be,” Deputy Fire Chief John Oprandy said.

Albemarle parents are also leaning on students and parents to help warn them of trouble anonymously.

“Collaboration is key because today’s problems are much more complex than they were years ago. It requires people to be at the table, sharing our thoughts, helping each other sharing our resources and planning for these problems and being able to attack them from a variety of ways,” Oprandy said.

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