School system, college partner to provide reunification site

News Release, Charles County Public Schools

La Plata, MD- Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) and the College of Southern Maryland (CSM) have partnered to provide a reunification site for CCPS students and staff in case of an emergency.

CSM has agreed to allow CCPS to use its Physical Education Center (PE Building), parking lots and access roads on the La Plata Campus to house and operate a family reunification center during a crisis. Reunification is the process the school system would use to communicate with parents and to reunite them with their children following a disaster or large-scale emergency at a school. Reunification centers are set up away from the crisis location to provide parents a secure place to receive information and to expedite the release of students.

“The reunification center partnership allows CCPS to create, practice and implement plans for family reunification before an emergency occurs. We are able to provide a predictable reunification site that can be communicated to parents and incorporated in our school emergency plans,” Superintendent Kimberly Hill said.

Prior to the agreement, each CCPS school had to identify a nearby site for family reunification. The school system wanted a centrally located, large facility to house students and reunite them with parents. Additionally, the CSM building is readily accessible and will facilitate a more timely and efficient family reunification process, said Jason Stoddard, director of school safety and security.

“The College of Southern Maryland is pleased to support Charles County Public Schools in its school safety planning and to be a resource as a reunification center should the need arise. I applaud Superintendent Kim Hill and her team for being proactive in this type of planning. Emergencies by their very nature are unpredictable events, but putting into place this memorandum of understanding today will help to ease the stress of making such decisions in the face of a crisis. We are grateful that we can be here for our community,” CSM President Maureen Murphy said.

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