Students and staff at Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools went into "secure mode" twice within the first three weeks of the new school year.
They were required to remain inside locked buildings due to reports of armed and dangerous individuals on UNC’s campus.
CHCCS safe schools director Tracy Holloway said the safety department has received positive feedback from teachers and administrators about how they handled both emergency situations.
He said teachers were better prepared for how to carry out the second secure mode procedure on Sept. 13 and that the school day was minimally interrupted.
“They were able to go about their day without even knowing or thinking about the tragedy that was happening outside of school,” Holloway said. “So from our point of view, the secure mode was a success in both incidents.”
When schools enter secure mode, Holloway said a message over the intercom informs students and staff. Staff must bring everyone inside and lock the doors, but instruction may continue as usual. Secure mode remains in place until schools receive the all-clear from the district's safety office, Holloway said.
Vickie Feaster Fornville, a Chapel Hill resident and the parent of a student at Chapel Hill High School, said knowing her daughter was in secure mode made her feel reassured during both incidents.
“The kids were safe at that time, and they would remain in secure mode until they got the all-clear from the University, so that made me feel good at that point,” Feaster Fornville said.
Holloway said teachers are trained each summer on the Standard Response Protocol, which dictates how schools respond to crises. Depending on the stage of the crisis, the protocol has five categories of responses: hold, secure, lockdown, evacuate and shelter.