Health & Safety

SAFETY INFORMATION

To keep your children safe, Palacios ISD has outlined several health & safety procedures. Use the links below for more information on general health facts, safety procedures, and should we encounter a situation, we will utilize one of the emergency procedures outlined in this section.

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SAFETY PROCEDURES

Facts on Safety Procedures

Help Palacios ISD keep your child safe

In the event of an emergency, Palacios ISD has a Crisis Management Plan in place to keep your children safe.  The most important thing is to remember to REMAIN CALM.  Should we encounter a situation, we will utilize one of the emergency procedures outlined below. 

Please understand that the safety of our children, employees and community is our top priority. The Shelter in Place actions will only be taken if our county, city, state or national officials notify us that such action is necessary.
 

LOCKDOWN 

  • This procedure is used when an intruder invades the premises or if there is a perceived threat at the school.
  • All classrooms will be notified of the lockdown.
  • Teachers will quickly scan for any students in the hallways and get them into classrooms.
  • All classrooms, office and main doors will be locked (as necessary) until the “ALL CLEAR” signal is given.
  • Students will be moved toward the wall by classroom doors (so that a perpetrator cannot see them).
  • Classroom shades (curtains) will be pulled if appropriate.
  • The campus administrator will call 911.
  • Under lockdown procedures, NO ONE will be allowed to enter or leave the building. This means that all windows and doors are locked.  This includes sealing ALL entrances and exits.  You WILL NOT be allowed to pick up your children from school until the “ALL CLEAR” signal is given.

If you hear, “LOCKDOWN” over the intercom or an administrator announces the lockdown in person:

  • Everyone is to stay where they are.
  • Classroom teachers are to:
    • Quickly glance outside the room to direct any students or staff members in the hall into your room immediately.
    • Lock your door.
    • Lower or close any blinds.
    • Place students against the wall, so that the intruder cannot see them looking in the door. Look for the ‘Safe Corner’.
    • Turn out lights and computer monitors.
    • Keep students quiet.
Note: All staff members should locate and hold on to their roll book prior to turning out the lights. This will aid in accounting for all students should an evacuation be necessary.
  • Physical education classes being held in the gym should move into a locker room, lock all doors, and find a safe area.
  • Any students in the cafeterias should move to the nearest classrooms.
  • If students and teachers are outside the school building, they should stop, drop, and remain still. You will be directed where to relocate depending on the situation.
  • If teachers and students are in the bathrooms, they should move to a stall, lock it and stand on the toilet.
  • Anyone in the hallway should move to the closest classroom immediately.
  • Nurses/cafeteria workers/support staff should stay in the area they are in, secure the doors, and turn out the lights.
  • Students and staff in the library should remain in the library. Librarians should lock the doors, turn out the lights, and locate a safe area

Stay in safe areas until directed by law enforcement officers or an administrator to move or evacuate. Never open doors during a lockdown, even in the event of a fire alarm. For further directives, law enforcement officers and administrators will have keys to open the doors or announcements will be made over the intercom.

An administrator will signal all personnel if the lockdown has been lifted.

If an evacuation occurs, all persons/classrooms will be directed by a law enforcement officer or administrator to a safe location. Once evacuated from the building, teachers should take roll to account for all students present in class. Administrators will divide and keep in communication with radios or cell phones.

 

HEALTH FACTS

Bacterial Meningitis

Bacterial meningitis is very serious and can be deadly. Death can occur in as little as a few hours. Most people recover from meningitis. However, permanent disabilities (such as brain damage, hearing loss, and learning disabilities) can result from the infection.

There are several types of bacteria that can cause meningitis. Leading causes in the United States include

  • Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Group B Streptococcus
  • Neisseria meningitidis
  • Haemophilus influenzae
  • Listeria monocytogenes

On average, bacterial meningitis caused about 4,100 cases and 500 deaths in the United States each year between 2003 and 2007.* [1]

These bacteria can also be associated with another serious illness, sepsis. Sepsis is the body’s overwhelming and life-threatening response to infection that can cause tissue damage, organ failure, and death.

Causes

Common causes of bacterial meningitis vary by age group:

  • Newborns: Group B Streptococcus, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Listeria monocytogenes, Escherichia coli
  • Babies and children: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), group B Streptococcus
  • Teens and young adults: Neisseria meningitidis, Streptococcus pneumoniae
  • Older adults: Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningitidis, Haemophilus influenzae type b (Hib), group B Streptococcus, Listeria monocytogenes

For further information please see: https://www.cdc.gov/meningitis/bacterial.html

H1N1

Beginning in April 2009, the State of Texas began responding to the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. When this strand was introduced there was limited knowledge of the severity which prompted the Department of State Health Services to recommend school closures in those areas believed to be affected by H1N1.  With new information and research it is evident that this flu strand contains moderate symptoms that resemble those in seasonal flu and school closures will no longer serve as the preferred method of limiting transmission. Due to the potential of outbreaks this school year, in addition to seasonal flu and other emergency concerns (i.e. hurricanes and or flooding), we encourage districts to review their emergency preparedness plans. TEA suggests the following information pertaining to H1N1 this school year.

District Level Staff should consider:

In anticipation of district or campus closure, preset local or campus “trigger points” for absenteeism recommended closures and review of the waiver procedures on the Texas Education Agency website. Local districts may consider teacher absenteeism, staff student ratios, student absenteeism or local ability to sustain educational capacity. Waiver applications for both missed instructional days and low attendance are available at TEA's website.  For more information about waivers, please contact the Waivers Division at (512) 463-5917.

Effective communication plans district wide and between the community and the district. These entities should include the local/regional health official, county judge, emergency personnel, volunteer organizations to assist parents, and local/regional food banks (pantry) for assistance with breakfast and lunch supplements for students. Additional information can be found on the Texas Department of Agriculture websitehttp://www.squaremeals.org/fn/render/parent/channel/0,1253,2348_2380_29978_0,00.html#29978

Review and utilization of the resources linked to Department of State Health Services, Centers for Disease Control and Instruction and Curriculum links from TEA. 

Review of the School District (K-12) Pandemic Influenza Planning Checklist available athttp://www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/school/schoolchecklist.html

Campus Administrators should consider:

Increasing supplies and awareness for infection control including use of hand soap, hand sanitizers, tissues etc. Downloadable H1N1 prevention posters in English and Spanish are available at http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/swineflu/swineflu.pdf andhttp://www.dshs.state.tx.us/swineflu/3cs-sp.shtm

School staff should routinely clean areas that students and staff touch often with the cleaners they typically use. Special cleaning with bleach and other non-detergent-based cleaners is not necessary.

Holding community meetings to review procedures for limiting transmission of the flu (seasonal and H1N1), protocol for staying home when ill and any other pertinent information.

Review  the resources from the  Department of State Health Services www.texasflu.org, and additional resources atwww.tea.state.tx.us  

Parents are encouraged to:

Monitor their children those with flu-like illness should stay home for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever, or signs of a fever, without the use of fever-reducing medicines.

Review  the resources from the  Department of State Health Services www.texasflu.org, and additional resources atwww.tea.state.tx.us

With adequate planning, a potentially challenging flu season this fall should not cause a significant disruption to our Texas schools. As always, the health and safety of Texas students is our number one priority.

West Nile Virus 

West Nile virus is a disease spread by mosquitoes. This disease is not contagious and cannot be spread from one human to the other. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of West Nile Virus in Palacios, but a couple cases reported exhibiting mild symptoms.  There have been some requests for school employees to spray students with mosquito spray during the school day, but employees are not authorized to spray any type of repellant on students.  We do keep in contact with the city and they will regularly spray the community and areas around the schools as needed. 

Flu Virus

Contrary to popular belief, the influenza season often lasts until mid-May. In a February 1, 2016 health alert, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that influenza activity is increasing across the country. Because the flu can have a significant impact on an educational setting, it is crucial that parents have access to flu information and resources year round. Even though most children infected with influenza recover with little to no complications, some cases result in hospitalization and sometimes even death. In the 2014-2015 flu season, 19 influenza-associated pediatric deaths were reported in Texas. No child should suffer like this: please parents, get the flu shot for your children and for yourselves.

If you would like to read more information about this, the Texas Dept. of Health Services has a great website dedicated to this at: www.TexasFlu.org