Recently a popular social media page run by locals in Morgan expressed concerns about the safety of the schools in Morgan following the latest school shooting in Texas.
“Safety is our number one priority in the district,” stated Superintendent Doug Jacobs.
Each month a safety board for the district meets that is made up of district and school personnel, school nurses, school counselors, school resource officer, county sheriff, parents from each school’s community council, city mayor, city manager and community emergency services personnel.
The goal of this committee is to make and keep each school within the district as safe as possible. Gaylene Adams, a school board member and head of the safety committee said, “Continual safety improvement is our plan-emphasizing prevention. The makeup and unity of this group adds another layer of safety to that taking place in individual schools. Entities (through committee members) are aware of the safety protocols that are in place at each school for incidents, great or small and are prepared to work together.”
Several safety protocols are in place at each school such as training and practice drills taking place on a regular basis to keep staff and students vigilant and to help them understand what to do if there is a real incident. Adams mentioned that the last few years have brought physical changes to buildings/campuses. There have been upgrades in cameras, audio enhancement/intercom in every classroom and thanks to a mental health grant, counselors and nurses are now in every school along with a districtwide social worker.
This committee reports and gives recommendations to the board of education during their monthly meetings.
Jacobs, along with Adams, met last month with all of the district’s school principals during the summer to continue conversations to increase school safety in the following areas: locking all school doors during the school day, keyless door locks and a school resource officer in each school.
Currently being installed in both elementary schools is a “buzz in” system. Once school has begun for the day, the front doors will be locked and those wishing to enter the building will use a speaker while the office attendants will use a video system to identify the person before giving them access to enter the building.
Morgan Elementary principal Destiney Field said, “Although no system will solve the tragedy of school invasions, this new buzz-in system is an additional step to keep our kids safe. My staff and I will do our best to let parents into the school in a timely fashion, however, please expect there will now be slight added delays.”
“While there are many great advantages to incorporating these ideas,” Jacobs said. “There are many issues and obstacles that must be investigated and resolved.”
Jacobs mentioned that he met with the superintendent from the Kane School District who has had success with the “buzz-in” system. “While he represents a much smaller school district and smaller schools, there was a lot of information that was helpful,” he said.
You can check out safety protocols that are put in place at each school by going to https://iloveuguys.org/The-Standard-Response-Protocol.html and https://risk.utah.gov/utah-schools-critical-incident-commission/. Adams adds, “Discussion with your child is always helpful to make sure they understand the protocols and always take drills seriously. The administrator of your child’s school is an excellent resource for answering questions or providing more information regarding that school.”
As the district safety committee meets throughout the year, they will continue to find solutions to all the issues facing the schools in the district.