ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - Public schools in Virginia are required to hold lockdown drills for students and staff. It's important to make sure everyone knows the safest course of action if the worst happens. Thursday's drill was different from fire drills or tornado drills, but the concept of keeping people safe is the same.

"The purpose of this drill is just to how to make the students as safe as possible if there were a threat in the building,” said Teresa Tyler, assistant principal.

Strict guidelines are to be followed during the lockdown drill to mirror a real emergency.

"You get everyone quiet. Try to get them off their phone. Seat them around the perimeter of the classroom. Make sure the door is closed and the glass is covered and make sure the outside window is covered,” said Lisa Grove, teacher.

Once the drill is in effect, administrators walk around to the different classrooms to make sure the door is locked to ensure the rules are being followed.

"If you think about it, when you do drills in sports, you're practicing a specific procedure or skill and you're doing it over and over again,” said Tyler. "Over time it becomes almost like muscle memory, you know what to do."

When the coast is clear, two administrators need to come over the intercom to end the drill.  

"The first one has to come on and goes 'I'm principal so-and-so and this concludes our lockdown drill', then a second person has to come on and say 'I'm so-and-so and this concludes our drill' and that's in case one of you are being held hostage or something,” said Tyler.  

Over the years, the school has added more upgrades to make the building more secure.

"It used to be just you could just walk into the school from the front, but we've added these foyers in the front to provide an extra layer of safety and those doors are locked during the school day,” said Tyler.

Two lockdown drills are held within the first 20 days of school, and overall, four times a year. This goes for Western Albemarle and every other public school in the state.