There are a number of different circumstances or emergency situations that could cause the district to evacuate students or dismiss them earlier or later than normal: severe weather and flooding, power or water outage, hazardous materials, or a crisis near or at the school.  In situations like these, it may be necessary for families to come pick up their students in a formalized, controlled release, with fire department, law enforcement agencies and the district all working together. This is called reunification.

We are dedicated to keeping our students safe and secure. It is our goal to reunify our students with their parents as soon as it is safe to do so. Emergency first responders will help us make a decision when it is safe to reunify students and parents.

To provide for a safe and secure controlled release of students to their parents or other emergency contacts, we will set up a parent and student reunification process. Depending on the situation, this process may be at your child’s school or at a safe alternative location. Please do not go to the school or alternative location until notified; this delays first responders and impedes access to those providing life safety assistance.

Reunification can be a time consuming process. Please be patient with us as we assure the safety of all students and staff during a controlled release process. Please keep the school informed of any changes to your child’s emergency contact information.

  • Parents will be notified when and if a parent and student reunification process is necessary, through voice calls, text messaging, emails, social media, and our school district website.
  • Please keep the school informed of any changes in your personal or work contact information.
  • Students will be released to a parent or emergency contacted listed in our Student Information System.
  • Parents or authorized emergency contacts will need a government issued photo ID to present at the parent request gate.

For more information about how your school prepares for emergency response, please visit our School Safety Q+A page, or contact the school principal.



Emergency Response Overview


What happens during an emergency?

School administrators, along with support from district office and city/county agencies, will evaluate the incident and initiate the appropriate response to either evacuate outside or away from buildings, or secure the campus in lockdown, lockout, or shelter in place. School personnel work closely with public safety officials during emergencies.

Students may be kept on campus.

In the event of a hazard or other immediate danger to health and safety outside of the school, public safety officials may direct the school to keep students on campus, even after school hours, until the all-clear signal is given. Students cannot be released until this time.

  • If such an emergency occurs, the school will begin a controlled release dismissal, in which students will be released only to an adult who has been identified as a parent, guardian or emergency contact.  Please be patient, this process can take time.
  • The school district is prepared to provide food, water and the medications listed on your child’s Authorization for Medications at School release form to your child if we are directed to hold students on campus.

Students may be relocated off campus.

Every school has a designated off-site evacuation location and a parent reunification area. This would be used if police determine it is not safe to keep students on site due to a situation occurring in the school or area. If students and staff are being relocated to an off-site location, you will be notified through your SchoolMessenger with instructions on where/how to reunite with your child. Off-site locations are not publicized in advance for safety reasons.

What to do if your child is kept on campus during an emergency.

  • Be familiar with your school’s emergency communication procedures.The district will provide accurate and timely information in the event of an emergency.
    • Tune to local media: 790 AM, 96.5 FM, 104.1 FM or Seattle media.
    • Check
    • Check @BhamSD on Twitter or @bellinghamschools on Facebook
    • Call 360-676-6400 for a recorded message.
    • Call 360-647-6815 for a message translated in Español, русский, tính từ and Punjabi.
  • To keep phone lines free for emergency use, please do not call the school. We understand and respect your concern for your child, yet it is essential that the telephone system be available for emergency communications.  Additionally, if our school is in lockdown, staff members will NOT be available to answer the phone as they will be working to protect your children and themselves from the threat. Information will be sent to you via telephone, email and text message. This will include information on when and where to pick up your child. Please manage your SchoolMessenger preferences by logging in to Skyward Family Access and going to the Skylert link on the left.
  • Do not come to the school unless instructed to do so.  We realize how difficult it will be for you to keep your distance from the school, but it will be crucial to keep the surrounding streets and parking lots clear for emergency vehicles.

Keith Schacht
Director of Teaching and Learning

Trista Moreno
Administrative Assistant