Dear Parents and Guardians at Cold Lake Elementary School:
We have been receiving a few questions about our practice of restricting entry to our school during the day and requiring all visitors to sign in and sign out. We would like to share some more information about why these protocols have been put in place and ask for your cooperation in ensuring they are followed.
The primary reason for having our doors locked during the day and not allowing unscheduled visitors unrestricted access to our schools is to ensure the safety of our students and staff, as well as the visitors themselves. We need to know who is in our building at all times and have a good idea of where they are within the school. In the event of an emergency, we need to account for the whereabouts of everyone who was in the school when the emergency occurred. That includes visitors, as well as our students and staff. This is why signing in and signing out is so important. In an emergency, we use those sign in sheets to ensure visitor safety in an evacuation situation or to assist emergency personnel in locating individuals inside the building.
I’m sure you can all think of worst case scenarios that could occur if we did not monitor who was coming in and out of our school throughout the day. The best way to prevent most of those situations from occurring is to restrict access to the school. This does not mean that parents and guardians are never allowed into the school. But it does mean that visitors should be there for a specific purpose such as a meeting that is arranged in advance or to volunteer for a specific activity. Things like delivering forgotten mittens or homework or lunches do not require unrestricted access to the school. Those items can be dropped off at the office and our staff will ensure your child receives them. Picking students up for appointments can be arranged with staff in advance so that your child is waiting for you when you arrive.
Another reason that we restrict access to the school during the day, is that having people wandering the halls or entering classrooms unexpectedly can be highly distracting for some of our students and disruptive to learning in our classrooms. One of our school goals is to create a safe and caring learning environment for all of our students. For many of our students this means quiet spaces, sticking to a schedule/routine, and minimizing interruptions and distractions. This can be challenging when people are walking and/or talking in the hallways, knocking on classroom doors or trying to catch the attention of students or staff.
There are numerous opportunities throughout the year when our school is open to the entire community to interact with staff and students such as open houses, concerts and school events. In those cases, parents, staff and students are all notified in advance and everyone is welcome to attend. This gives families an opportunity to decide if they want to participate in an activity or not, depending on their own personal circumstances.
We appreciate the support that we receive from parents and understand your desire to be as involved as possible with your child’s education. We want to maximize opportunities for you to be involved and make a positive contribution to our school culture, while also maintaining a safe and caring learning environment for our students. Your cooperation and support in helping us do this is greatly appreciated.
Chris Vining, Principal Natalie Ogrodiuk-Whaley, Asst. Principal