California’s annual earthquake drill is happening Thursday October 15. This year during distanced learning, teachers and students are being asked to participate virtually.
San Bernardino City Unified School District Emergency Manager, Eric Vetere, says normally the annual Great ShakeOut earthquake drill is done in-person and involves the evacuation of entire school campuses into field areas.
"We’re excited in that we are able to push the preparedness that would normally kind of reside in the classrooms during the Great ShakeOut [and] push the preparedness into individual family homes,” said Vetere.
Teachers have been asked to work time into their distanced learning schedules to prepare students for the drill. Vetere said it also allows for students to have conversations about earthquake readiness with their parents and guardians.
“We’re going to ask the students to, you know, look around, be aware of their surroundings," said Vetere. "Be aware of what’s near them, above them, under them. Where they could go for stable locations, to drop cover, and hold on. Have preparedness conversations with their family, about how to safely evacuate. Where their meeting points may be and how to contact each other. So, we’re really making the best of this COVID environment.”
He said it is especially important for differently-abled students to talk about a plan with teachers and parents. And he says kids love to be engaged. So the more teachers and parents talk about scary things with students and practice being prepared, the less frightening they become.
“We know for our youngest ones, we need to lead them but also not be afraid when they’re taking charge, too," said Vetere. "Sometimes our best leaders are our kids.”
To learn more about the drill visit, shakeout.org.