New Underwood School District participates in statewide tornado warning drill
NEW UNDERWOOD, S.D. — South Dakota is halfway through Severe Weather Week, and Wednesday was the perfect day for schools and businesses to put emergency plans into practice during the National Weather Service’s annual tornado warning drill.
It was a normal day for New underwood school children – if you count tornado drills mid-recess. The school district was among schools and businesses throughout the state that held tornado drills for the day. So, while it was a mostly normal school day, there was a focus on severe weather in classrooms that included what students could look out for, as well as the steps to take to keep themselves safe.
“We talked about, especially in kindergarten, the grouchy sky,” said superintendent, Katie Albers. “If the sky looks dark and certain things. So just helping them really learn about what some of the warning signs are and just to put yourself in that mindset of being prepared in case there is an emergency like that.”
The drill was a short one; students lined up by class before heading inside to shelter-in-place. The school hallway became a shelter and students were instructed to huddle close together and keep their heads down. Although it interrupted recess, it was actually a perfect opportunity for students to practice being prepared at all times.
“Emergencies happen all the time, and they don’t always happen on our timeline,” said Albers. “In this instance, the tornado drill happened over recess, and so it’s good to kind of practice those not usual scenarios, so that kids know what to do in any case, not just from a classroom standpoint as well.”
The drill went off without a hitch, although faculty thought the alarm could have been louder. To remedy the possibility of missing an alarm, the school has worked to sync all faculty calendars and improve it’s internal messaging.