WESTFIELD, NJ--Westfield Public Schools send out this message from Superintendent  Margaret Dolan today, the first day back to school after Friday's shooting in Newtown, CT, shook the nation:

1.     Superintendent of the Westfield Public Schools, Dr. Margaret Dolan, or members of her Central Staff have completed visits to each and every one of the 10 schools in the district today, Monday, December 17, meeting with every principal and walking through every school.  Counselors have been at every school to provide support and information to help teachers and students. 

2.     At the school district’s Emergency Management Team meeting that took place last week (prior to Friday, December 14), the team had already planned for security audits at every building.  The Team meets monthly. Dr. Dolan stressed that we take all of our safety precautions very seriously.

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3.     Dr. Dolan has asked the Westfield Police Chief to again come in and meet with school principals.  According to Dr. Dolan:  We work very closely with law enforcement and they are very responsive and cooperative. They have come and worked with and trained our principals.  The police also use our buildings to conduct their own trainings so that they are familiar with them.    Extensive training has been conducted by our local police and at the county level for our principals and administrators, who work with the Crisis Teams in each school. Our nurses also have participated in specific training regarding crisis management.

4.     Members of the Westfield Police and Fire Departments have overseen our drills in our schools and have previously provided suggestions for improving protocols, which we have implemented.

5.     Schools have a doorway camera with a two-way intercom and visitors have to be “buzzed in” for the door to open.

6.     School district staff is required to wear name tags.  Visitors to the school are asked to register at the desk and wear visitor tags. We will work with staff on remaining alert and aware of potential problems.

7.     Our students are working in their classrooms and seem to be doing well. As one of our principals wrote in a letter to his staff this morning, “I cannot stress enough that we must, as educators and parents, move forward and instill a sense of ‘normalcy’ back in our lives even though ‘business as usual’ takes on a more vigilant focus.”  Another principal wrote, “We are conducting business as usual today to provide the routine which will make children feel safe.”