P.O. BOX 2120



September 21, 2007



Division Superintendents



Billy K. Cannaday, Jr.

Superintendent of Public Instruction



Tornado Preparedness Day, March 18, 2008


In Virginia, tornadoes can occur throughout the state, any time of year, with little or no warning. Recent years have brought record-breaking numbers of tornadoes to the Commonwealth. Tornado preparedness is more important than ever.


This year, the statewide tornado drill will take place on Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 9:45 a.m. Should severe weather threaten the state on March 18, the tornado drill will be rescheduled for 9:45 a.m. on Wednesday, March 19.


The Code of Virginia in 22.1-137.1 requires that all public schools participate in at least one tornado drill per year. Participation in this drill would fulfill that requirement. However, if this drill date or time is not convenient, schools are welcome to choose an alternative date or time.


The Department of Education supports Tornado Preparedness Day. I encourage your schools to participate actively by educating staff members and students about tornadoes and taking part in the statewide tornado drill.


School has started, so it is important that information about the drill be disseminated as soon as possible. Please ensure the drill is included in all school calendars and that school administrators understand how to conduct a drill.


The local emergency manager can help to identify your schools tornado safety areas as well as develop the schools emergency plans for both natural and man-made hazards. More information about tornado preparedness and a listing of local emergency managers can be found at

We will work closely with the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) to disseminate information to schools about Tornado Preparedness Day. VDEM will be sending:


         A letter with links to tornado resources for educators


         Information about the upcoming statewide tornado drill and


         A website address where you can register each schools participation in the drill.


Entering each schools information will help VDEM show the media and the public the full extent of school participation across the state. Last year, more than 170,000 students, employees and citizens participated. With your help, we will be able to show a growing number of schools and students who participate in the drill.


If you have any questions about Tornado Preparedness Day or the statewide drill, please contact Jolie Brendlinger, VDEM public affairs specialist, at, (804) 897-6510 or Arlene Cundiff, coordinator of the safe and drug-free schools program with the Virginia Department of Education at 804-225-2871, or