(BIVN) – There’s never a good time for a nuclear attack scare, but luckily, January 13’s mistaken missile alert was issued on a Saturday.
Hawaii schools were not in session when the false emergency message appeared on cell phones at 8:07 a.m. Thus, the chaos that could have occurred as parents scrambled to retrieve their children was avoided.
Emergency management officials have been working on specific guidance in case the kids are at school if a real attack were to ever occur.
On January 16, the Department of Education sent a notice home to parents reiterating that schools will indeed shelter-in-place, and advising parents to avoid picking up their children at school.
The letter from Superintendent Christina Kishimoto stated that “While it is extremely difficult to adhere to this advisement, please know that this is in the best interest of your children.”
The is also offering additional crisis counseling services for children and families due to the emotional trauma the event may have caused.
Here is the full letter, which was also posted to the DOE website:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
Recent events served as a statewide reminder of emergency preparations. Rest assured the Hawaii State Department of Education (HIDOE) schools hold emergency drills to educate and prepare students and staff of situations that threaten the safety and security of our campuses.
The Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) indicates that the safest response to a ballistic missile threat is to “Get Inside, Stay Inside, and Stay Tuned.” Thus, the proper emergency action drill for schools is, “Shelter-in-Place.” Shelter-in-Place drills is one of the five annual emergency exercises practiced by our schools.
Additionally, HIDOE has conducted principal meetings with HI-EMA officials regarding school Shelter-in-Place planning and procedures for a ballistic missile threat.
With regard to any Shelter-in-Place situation, parents and guardians are also advised to Shelter-inPlace where they are (i.e., home, work, etc.) and avoid picking up their children at school. While it is extremely difficult to adhere to this advisement, please know that this is in the best interest of your children.
In the event of an emergency, statewide, complex-wide or school-wide, HIDOE will post information on its website hawaiipublicschools.org, as well as its Twitter account @HIDOE808, and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/HIDOE808. Often times, rumors or misinformation can be spread during a time of chaos. It is important to remain calm and go to these sources for updated and accurate information.
This past weekend not only caused us to reflect on preparation efforts, but it also may have caused emotional trauma for you and your children. HIDOE offers additional crisis counseling services and supports to schools upon request. Should you feel that your child or family is in need counseling services, please discuss this with your school principal.
Dr. Christina M. Kishimoto