Lynnwood Elementary students shelter in place three times in one week

Lynnwood Elementary students were asked to clear the hallways and stay in their classrooms three times during the last week of September, for “shelter-in-place” events that usually indicate a medical emergency involving a student or an adult.

GUILDERLAND — Lynnwood Elementary School students have sheltered in place three times in one week, on Friday, Sept. 21; Tuesday, Sept. 25, and again on Friday, Sept. 28.

Sheltering in place is different from a lockdown, said Superintendent Marie Wiles. Sheltering in place involves making sure that students and adults are out of the hallways, and they are usually done for medical emergencies, she said.

One reason to clear the hallways is to prevent other young students from seeing a potentially scary situation; another is for the privacy of the student or teacher experiencing the emergency, Wiles said. A third is to let ambulance crews work efficiently.

Wiles contrasted a shelter-in-place with a lockdown, which would be called in the case of a threat. In a lockdown, Wiles said, classroom doors are locked and students stay away from windows.

To shelter in place, students sit at their desks and teaching continues. Police aren’t generally called to the school for a shelter-in-place event, she said.

Wiles said that she thought the three episodes at Lynnwood were unrelated. She was unsure if three was a lot in one week.

“We’ve had a few in the high school, too. It might be more than typical,” she said. She added, “They happen when they happen. We may go for weeks without any at all.”

Wiles said that a decision to call a shelter-in-place is made by the building principal. She said she would encourage a principal to call one rather than not, “out of an abundance of caution.” 

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