Southern Maryland is no stranger to earthquakes. A 5.8 magnitude quake in Virginia on Aug. 23, 2011, was felt in Maryland. And while most Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students might not remember it, or were even born yet, those who attend General Smallwood Middle School and Gale-Bailey Elementary School know what to do if another one rocks the area.
“Drop, cover and hold on,” was the direction Oct. 18 at the two schools which took part in the Great SouthEast ShakeOut, an annual drill supported by state and federal emergency management agencies. “The drill gives students another tool to have during emergency situations,” Gale-Bailey Principal Verniece Rory said.
Students in Bailey Roscoe’s second-grade classroom are well-versed in how to stay safe in various situations. “All of my students practice [drills] in case of emergency,” Roscoe said. Recently, the class practiced running to its rally location, said Michael Jones, one of Roscoe’s students. The drill is practiced in the event students and staff have to run from the school due to an emergency and become separated. The rally point is a predetermined spot away from the school where the class can meet back up.
Schools across the state participate in a number of drills throughout the school year. CCPS holds 11 fire drills each year. Also held annually are four reverse evacuation drills, four lockdown exercises, four shelter-in-place drills and four for severe weather.
Charles County Public Schools provides 26,900 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 36 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and higher education.
The Charles County public school system does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age or disability in its programs, activities or employment practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 coordinator (employees/ adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, P.O. Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.