Emergencies: PWCS is prepared

Emergencies are rare, but when they happen or there is even a potential risk, PWCS is prepared and has plans in place to safeguard our schools and everyone in them.

What Parents Should Know

Below is an overview of our emergency procedures and how you, as a parent, can help us help you.

PWCS is Ready with Crisis Plans

All schools have a crisis plan.

Training and frequent drills allow quick response to emergencies, whether man-made or natural, to safeguard students, staff, and visitors. Students receive age-appropriate training on how to respond to emergency situations. Measures are in place to assist those with special needs.

You, as parents and guardians, can feel confident that we work closely with police, fire, and other emergency authorities to ensure the safety of your child.

Talk with your child

Remind your child to follow instructions for his/her own safety. Reassure your child that principals and teachers have been trained and know what to do in an emergency.

Help Us Help You

We will keep you informed through email, phone, text, My PWCS mobile app, and local media.

Ways to help:

  • Provide accurate emergency contact information to your child’s school and promptly notify the school of any changes.
  • Bookmark www.pwcs.edu, your school webpage(s) for easy reference.
  • Download the My PWCS mobile app.
  • Subscribe to PWCS news outlets.

When Something Happens

Official PWCS news sources will share accurate information and updates as quickly as possible. Avoid rumors and speculation; they cause undue concern. Remember, students and others may not have the most accurate information.

  • Stay calm. Remember, most emergency actions are precautionary.
  • Monitor your school website(s) and www.pwcs.edu.
  • Check your email and text messages for urgent messages.

School may well be the safest place for students. PWCS works with emergency officials to ensure that students are safe inside their schools.

  • Avoid calling or visiting schools, unless instructed, so as to not inadvertently interfere with emergency response crews.

Know the Lingo

Most actions are precautionary.

  • Evacuations are used to avoid the threat of potential internal hazards, such as fire, fumes, or unexplained alarms.
  • Secure the Building provides added safety in cases of potential external risk, not directed at the school, such as police actions nearby. Students are brought indoors and building entry is restricted. Normal education activities continue.
  • Shelter in Place provides protection from potential environmental risks occurring outdoors.
  • Lockdown happens during a reported threat to the school. Buildings are locked, classes are suspended, and students are secured in their immediate areas.

These situations end when an official all-clear is given.

For more detailed information on Emergency Plans, visit the Risk Management webpage.

PWCS is committed to the safety of our students, employees, and community.

Crisis Preparedness Brochure

Cover of Crisis and Emergency Preparedness Brochure

Contents of Brochure

  • A Message from the Superintendent
  • County and Schools Work Together
  • Security Measures in Place
  • Crisis Response Readiness of Schools
  • PWCS Response to and Definitions for National Terrorism Advisory System (NTAS) Alerts
  • Keeping Informed Through Crisis/Emergency Messages
  • Keeping Children Safe
  • Parent/Guardian-Student Reunification Process
  • When Crisis Occurs: A Quick Reference for Parents
  • Crisis/Emergency Resources

General Information

The Prince William County Public School Division has established crisis management plans and policies for how all types of potential crises are to be handled.

Crisis management is part of the School Division's approach to school safety. It anticipates potential problems and establishes a coordinated response to minimize the stress and disruptions a crisis might bring to bear on the School Division and the community.

  • Each school has emergency and contingency plans in place to respond to different types of events as they occur. Each school has also established a Crisis Response Team (CRT) that is an integral part of the school's emergency management plan.
  • The School Division works closely with local law enforcement agencies to coordinate responses to particular incidents.