SF School District holds evacuation/reunification exercise

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It’s a scenario most parents don’t even want to think about: an emergency at your child’s school leading to an evacuation. The Sioux Falls School District held an exercise on Tuesday to help answer any questions that can come up during such an event. To be clear, it was an exercise; there was no emergency. It was a drill for evacuation as well as reunification.

An emergency can take on different forms.

“That could be some type of a natural disaster where we have to vacate a building, a gas leak in a building where we have to vacate a building, or as we’ve seen across the country, some other type of event that may happen that we hope never does, but we want to just make sure that we’re prepared in case of that ever occurring,” Sioux Falls School District Assistant Superintendent Jamie Nold said.

Tuesday’s exercise is based on an intruder scenario. Students evacuated Eugene Field and went by bus to the Sioux Falls Arena campus.

“Here in a little bit our parents will be coming in and going through that reunification process, which in case of an actual event is a vital piece of this whole practice exercise that we go through today,” Nold said.

At the Arena, we asked Jocelyn Burtnett about what she had do go through to get her daughter back.

“When I got here, I came through the middle doors there, which we were instructed to do, and then we were also notified, or instructed to make sure we had an ID, so that we can properly be reunited with our children and make sure moms and dads are getting with the kids,” Burtnett said.

She’s happy with what she’s seen, rating it strongly.

“I say a 10,” Burtnett said. “Everything went smoothly.”

With safety in focus, Nold’s message is for every student and parent in the district.

“We always go with ‘See something, say something,’ and we go on that practice that if you ever see something that shouldn’t be or seems out of the norm, let us know,” Nold said.

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