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Safety Front And Center As Schools Open

Fri, 23 Aug 2013 08:44:02 CDT
By: Haley BeMiller

Unit 5 is starting off the school year with safety in mind. Superintendent Gary Niehaus says Normal Community High School conducted a safety drill on the first day, and Normal West will follow suit next week. Niehaus says Community Principal Dave Bollman wanted to make sure the school was ready. He says the drill went well.

"I think there was probably some kids that were wondering why do we have to do this a year ago or so, and now I don't think they're even questioning why they're doing it," he says. "I think they did it in due diligence, and I think our faculty and students took it very seriously. I believe that's the example we wanted to set."

Niehaus says other buildings in Unit 5 will also hold evacuation drills.

"We want to make sure everybody's safe in our district, not just in one building or another building, and we want to make sure that we've done the drills, and we know how to do what we're supposed to do," he says.

The district is also continuing to manage the health of its students. They must now get a TDAP vaccine if they don't already have one. It combats tetanus, diphtheria, and whooping cough. Niehaus says parents have responded well to the new requirement, and the Health Department is working with the district to make sure students are vaccinated as quickly as possible.

"I really believe we've done a good job with that, and our kids are safer again because we've got them immunized," he says.

Overall, Niehaus says school is off to a good start, and the district had a successful first day. He says this was the first time the school year started with a full day, and he believes that was a great benefit to students and faculty.

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