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Otsego Public Schools

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School Safety » School Safety

School Safety

Keeping your children safe during school is a top priority at Otsego Public Schools. In addition to our own safety measures, we comply with the State of Michigan School Safety Requirements. These include a number of drills throughout the year.
Each building must conduct: 
Fire Drills
  • At least five fire drills each year; three must be held before December 1st and the other two must be done during the remainder of the year with reasonable time between each drill.
Tornado Drills
  • Hold at least two tornado drills each year and at least one of those drills must be done in March.
Lockdown Drills (Includes Shelter in Place and Lockdown)
  • Practice at least three lockdown drills. At least one of these drills must be conducted by December 21st and at least one must be conducted after January 1st. The drills must be conducted with reasonable spacing between each. School boards must seek input from local public safety officials about the nature of these drills. 
  • At least one of any of these three of drills must occur during either lunch, recess, or some other time when a significant number of students are not in their classrooms. 
  • No drills may be scheduled at at time that would interfere with state-mandate testing.
  • In addition, the date and time of these drills must documented on the school's website within 30 days of the drill and the documentation must be maintained on the website for at least three years.
  • Terminology you will hear: Shelter in Place, Lockdown

Term Definitions

When the school district needs to alter the daily routine, you will hear two different terms for our actions: Shelter in Place or Lockdown.

Shelter in Place

Shelter in place is initiated when school officials believe there is some type of emergency that does not directly impact the interior of the school. Shelter-in-place is typically used when police are engaged in an operation nearby, outside of the school. This does not automatically mean there is a suspect search; examples might be an industrial accident, chemical spill, gas leak, or materials transported through the community. The goal is to keep students and staff safe and indoors. During a shelter in place, outside doors are locked and entrance and exit from the building is limited or restricted.  Windows will be shut and locked and may be covered to reduce visibility. Instruction, class changes, and all indoor activities continue as scheduled. Generally, the duration of these situations would last minutes or hours.

Access to Students during Shelter-In-Place

For many parents, your first instinct will be to come to the school to check on your child or take him or her home. However, to ensure the safety of our students during the Shelter in Place period, we will not be opening our doors to anyone who is unauthorized to enter.  As a parent, we recognize how hard this would be. Please know that we will be taking good care of your child.


A school lockdown occurs when there is a threat or potential threat to staff or student safety in the area. This could be a police activity with a suspect nearby, it is not automatically a person seeking access to the school. In the name of safety, however, we will take extra steps to protect students. During a lockdown, the school is closed to all visitors and students are supervised until an "all clear" is given by law enforcement authorities. During these situations, we may not be able to provide all details due to the police matter, but we will explain what we can and keep you informed of information as we are able. We must defer to law enforcement officials in these situations for information to share as to not interfere with their investigation.

Notification during Shelter In Place or Lockdowns

In the case of one of these actions, parents are notified through a phone call generated through the Parent Portal of Infinite Campus. It is vital that you have your phone number updated in this system to receive important notifications. Details or resources will also be posted on the district’s website. 

Access to Students during Lockdowns

During a school lockdown, parents are strongly encouraged not to come to the school, due to the heightened risk and should only attempt to arrive at the school after a lockdown has been lifted. Should an emergency re­sponse be called for, it’s important that emergency vehicles are able to reach the campus quickly and easily. Parents who attempt to come to the school may obstruct emergency vehicles’ access and even endanger themselves, or their children.

Do not panic.  Actual lockdown situations are highly controlled events where police and school officials are together coordinating procedures for the safety of all involved. We will keep families updated through our phone messaging system as new information is available. 

Lockdown / Shelter In Place Details

Otsego Public Schools has two types of lockdowns (defined on the webpage) depending on the situation prompting this action. It could be a Shelter In Place, or a Lockdown (this could be a threat on the exterior or interior of a building.) Please know that your child's safety is our first priority and all of our actions keep our students' safety at the forefront.

You will be notified through Infinite Campus’ alert system if a lockdown is warranted. You will also be updated, if necessary/possible, during the lockdown, and alerted when the lockdown has been lifted. Be sure that your contact information is up to date in Infinite Campus in order to receive these messages. 

Lockdowns happen for a variety of reasons and it is important to remember than many of them are due to outside situations that do not involve or impact the school or are a threat to our school or students. Often, it is a precautionary measure to keep our students and staff away from a situation taking place that is being handled by other officials. 

Things to think about: 

  • It is very easy to become panicked when a school goes into lockdown. Please don’t panic. As adults, we want to keep the situation calm for our students. 
  • When we are in a lockdown, no one will be allowed in or out of the building. Please do not come to the school to take your child out of school. 
  • In times of lockdowns, our office assistants and administrators are often busy on the phones with outside officials learning more about the situation and getting directions on how to proceed. Please do not call the school unless absolutely necessary as not to tie up the phone lines. It’s imperative that law enforcement officials are able to get through. 
  • Please note that in a police matter, it is not the place of the school district to release details of the event. We will do our best to give a brief description for why a lockdown is taking place, but, due to the investigative process, might not be able to release very many details. We appreciate your patience and understanding. 
  • There are a variety of reasons for a lockdown. Many of them take place because of incidents that do not involve the school directly and are not threatening to the school or students; however, there might be an emergency situation or police incident near the school and officials want to be sure our students and staff stay inside the building as not to hinder or interfere with their jobs. 
  • Please be aware that some students might be sharing that we are in lockdown and the reasons they believe led to the lockdown before you hear about it from the school. Word can travel fast with technology, where the school needs to take many things into consideration before sending out a communication to our staff and parents. We will communicate what we can with you and will provide an official word of what is taking place. Rumors and theories can run rampant in situations such as these. Stay near your phone/email to receive official correspondence from the District. 
  • We will alert you when a lockdown takes place and when it is clear. See procedures below for what might happen if a lockdown is taking place at various times of the day. 

What happens when

A lockdown takes place at the end of the day 
If a lockdown takes place at the end of the day, we will keep students inside the buildings and halt the buses until we are given the all-clear. If you are in your car waiting for your child, he/she will not be dismissed until the situation is clear. You are welcome to wait in your car or clear the premises and return after receiving the all-clear message. 

A lockdown takes place during a mid-day pick-up time
If you are already inside the building waiting to pick up your child, you may be asked to wait in a separate area until we receive word that it is okay for you and your child to leave. This is to keep you and your child safe and to follow the wishes of outside officials.