Hammering home that school safety is their number one priority, major security upgrades are now being installed at Alice Shaw Elementary School in Orcutt.
“We’re putting in additional fencing so that during the instructional time when teachers, students and staff are present, there’s only one way into the campus,” explained Dr. Debbie Blow, Superintendent of the Orcutt Union School District.
Previously the campuses across the district relied on the honor system of visitors checking in at the front office.
“That’s the way all of our campuses in Orcutt are right now – anyone can come on at any time. While we have procedures in place where everyone needs to check in at the office and wear a visitor’s badge, there’s nothing from preventing anyone from coming and going into a classroom or wherever they wanted to go on campus,” Blow said.
Blow says the installation of the fencing is going to come in phases with the elementary schools done first.
All of the schools will be completed within the next three years.
While there’s only one way in and one way out during the school day, the community will still be able to get into their facilities at night.
“It’s also important to us because we realize how much our facilities, our fields are used by our communities, after hours our gates will be open and the community will still have access to our fields for the various programs that we offer, ” said Blow.
Construction at the school won’t be 100 percent finished by the time school starts.
Blow says parents at Alice Shaw Elementary can however expect business as usual on the first day. Some families have already gave the district feedback on the construction.
“It’s unfortunate that we are having to enclose our campuses but given the things that have happened to school sites in the United States, they feel much better that we’re being proactive and doing everything we can to make our schools safe.”