Superintendent's Memo #033-11

State seal, Commonwealth of Virginia

COMMONWEALTH of VIRGINIA
Department of Education

February 4, 2011

TO: Division Superintendents

FROM: Patricia I. Wright, Superintendent of Public Instruction

SUBJECT: March 15, 2011, Statewide Tornado Drill

It is important for all school divisions to be prepared in the event a tornado occurs during the school day. The Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) encourages school divisions to participate in "Tornado Preparedness Day" sponsored by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM). The next Statewide Tornado Drill will take place on Tuesday, March 15, 2011, at 9:45 a.m. (If widespread severe weather threatens the state on that date, then the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 16, at 9:45 a.m.)

This is an important statewide safety event.; The Code of Virginia in § 22.1-137.1 requires all public schools to participate in at least one tornado drill each year. The March 15 statewide tornado drill will fulfill that requirement. Schools may choose an alternate date or time if this is not convenient.

Last year was the most successful tornado drill event held, with more than 1.2 million people across the state participating. The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is asking individual schools to register participation in the 2011 drill by going to http://www.vaemergency.com/threats/tornado.

Information about tornado preparedness and a listing of local emergency managers is available at www.vaemergency.com. Local county, city or town emergency managers can help schools identify tornado safety areas, as well as develop emergency plans for both natural and human-caused emergencies.

If you have any questions about "Tornado Preparedness Day" or the statewide drill, please call or e-mail:
Laura Southard, VDEM public outreach coordinator, (804) 897-6510 or laura.southard@vdem.virginia.gov  or
Jo Ann Burkholder, VDOE safe and drug-free schools programs coordinator, (804) 371-7586 or joann.burkholder@doe.virginia.gov.

PIW/jab