COMMONWEALTH OF VIRGINIA

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

P.O. BOX 2120

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 23218-2120

SUPTS. MEMO NO. 215

December 19, 2003

INFORMATIONAL

TO:

Division Superintendents

 

FROM:

Jo Lynne DeMary

Superintendent of Public Instruction

 

SUBJECT:

Tornado Preparedness Day

 

In order to focus attention on tornadoes and to help spread preparedness information to communities across the Commonwealth, Governor Mark Warner has proclaimed Tuesday, March 16, 2004, as Tornado Preparedness Day. This day will begin with the annual statewide tornado drill at 9:45 a.m. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) has already e-mailed a letter to you with links to tornado resources for educators as well as information about the upcoming statewide tornado drill.

 

Some of you may recall a situation earlier this year where Amelia County Schools had to act to protect children from an approaching tornado. Students had been dismissed and were boarding the buses when schools officials learned of the tornado warning. They quickly moved students off the buses and into the interior hallways before the tornado rumbled through the county. Many structures sustained damage, including the schools. However, no lives were lost. Fortunately, the division had participated in the statewide tornado drill a few months earlier. As a result, both faculty and students knew what to do. VDEM and the National Weather Service later recognized them for their preparation and response to the storm.

 

The Department of Education supports Tornado Preparedness Day. I encourage schools to participate actively in tornado preparedness by educating their staff members and students about tornadoes and by taking part in the statewide tornado drill. If you have not done so already, please contact your local emergency manager and ask that he or she help you to identify you schools tornado safety shelters. This person is also a good resource to use in developing your schools emergency plans for natural and man-made hazards.

 

We will work closely with VDEM to disseminate information to schools about Tornado Preparedness Day. If you have any questions about Tornado Preparedness Day or the statewide drill, please contact Dawn Eischen, VDEM Public Affairs Coordinator, at (804) 897-6510.

 

JLD/ADC/klr