Students and Families

You’re ready to engage in learning and ace your SOLs, but are you prepared for an emergency at school?  or, maybe you’re taking your student to kindergarten for the first time and just are worried about them.  Just like the exam or , it’s all about being prepared.  Review the resources on this page to learn more about the programs and services Arlington Public Schools provides to enrolled students.  Need an emergency management study buddy?  Contact Administrative Services if you have any questions about emergency preparedness. Not an enrolled student?  Don’t worry, we’ve prepared resources for everyone in the Arlington Public Schools Family.  Visit our home page here to find your audience appropriate page.

Be Informed

APS Alert – School Talk
School Talk is Arlington Public Schools emergency notification and communication system that is used to send emergency notification and timely information to students and parents at each individual school. Visit WEB ADDRESS today to maintain your information to receive alerts from APS Alert – School Talk. 

Visiting Your Student
If you are planning a visit to your student’s school, please take a moment to become familiar with the emergency procedures for Arlington Public Schools.  The district engages in visitor management through a variety of methods depending on the school.  A comprehensive visitor management technology system is in progress of being installed at all locations.

APS Advisories
On occasion, Arlington Public Schools becomes aware of situations that occur on campus that do not warrant emergency notification but communication must be relayed to students and families.  Any situation or condition that is dangerous, potentially harmful, or unresolved will be communicated by School Talk.  However, when an incident that no longer poses a threat to the school occurs, the principal may distribute email messages regarding the incident.

Student Privacy
Our student’s families are a vital part of the Arlington Public Schools community.  In accordance with federal lwas, we have an obligation to protect the privacy of all students in addition to all members of the university community and we encourage you to be in conversation with your student about safety and preparedness.  For more information on the rules governing the release of student information please visit the Department of Education’s Family Education and Rights Privacy Act.

Be Ready

Emergency Signage
In addition to lighted EXIT signs in every school, additional signage is posted that we recommend you become familiar with to be prepared for emergencies.

Emergency Procedures Posters
Large blue and yellow Emergency Procedures posters (PDF) are posted throughout schools.  These posters provide basic guidance on how to respond to potential emergencies on campus.

Evacuation Plans
Indicate primary and alternate exit routes, the location of emergency equipment and provide the physical address of each building.

Area of Refuge
Indicate areas in which individuals who are unable to evacuate are taken to await emergency personnel to be safely evacuated from the school.

Emergency Equipment
Schools within the Arlington Public School District are equipped with emergency equipment including but not limited to; fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators (AED), and first aid kits.  Clinic staff may have additional equipment to address basic life support medical concerns.

Personal Emergency Kits

During emergencies, resource availability may be limited and environmental conditions may change established patterns.  Members of the Arlington Public Schools family should have an emergency kit at home, at work and in their personal vehicle.  Our locations have kits you should too.  For instructions on how to build your own emergency kit and suggestions for what to include, visit

Emergency Management
Arlington Public Schools maintains a comprehensive Emergency Management program.  In an emergency, teachers and administrators convene and utilize emergency plans to coordinate response activities and provide support to local responders and those impacted by the emergency.  Plans are designed to protect students, employees and visitors.

Emergency Response Information 

You will be notified of an emergency at school via public address (PA), School Talk, teacher and/or administrator instructions.  When notified of an emergency, it is important to remain calm and follow any instructions you receive from teachers, administrators, and emergency responders.  During emergencies, cell phone towers are frequently overwhelmed by large call volume which may prevent others from calling for help.  If possible, use text messaging to communicate during emergencies to leave phone lines open for those who need them most. 

Public Safety
Arlington Public Schools maintains a collaborative relationship with Arlington County Police Department and Arlington County Fire & Rescue to provide a safe and secure environment at our schools.  Police, Fire & Rescue, and school administrators meet on a regular basis to discuss emergency response to individual schools.

History has shown that communications methods become limited during an emergency due to capacity considerations, infrastructure failures, and/or power outages.  During an emergency it is best to use text messaging to reach those you are concerned about.  Text messages tend to work even when phone lines are congested or at capacity.  Parents are encouraged to follow all instructions received via School Talk on how, when, where, and during what time to pick up their student in times where school evacuation has occurred.  Parents will not be able to access the school directly during this time and voluntarily reporting to the school slows down emergency response.


Fire Drill
Fire Drills are conducted at each school in accordance with the Arlington County Fire Code, Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, and Department of Education Standards for Accreditation.  Drills are held in all buildings and are unannounced.  Fire drills are conducted one per week during the first month of school and at least one fire drill each month for the remainder of the school year. 

Lockdown Drill
Lockdown Drills are conducted at each school in accordance with Code of Virginia and Department of Education Standards for Accreditation.  Drills are held in all buildings can be announced or unannounced.  Lockdown drills are required to be conducted twice during the first 20 days of school and two additional during the remainder of the year, of which one must be held in January.  Lockdown drills are in compliance with the Arlington County Fire Code and the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

Tornado Drill
Each year, Arlington Public Schools participates in the statewide Tornado Drill.  This drill is designed to promote awareness of tornado and severe weather response procedures.  The drill is announced via School Talk and internal public-address systems at each school.  Participation is required and does not interfere with classroom instruction.

Earthquake Drill
September of each year, Arlington Public Schools participates in the Great Southeast Shakeout Earthquake Drill.  This drill is designed to promote awareness of earthquake response procedures.  The drill is announced via School Talk and internal public-address systems at each school.  Participation is required and does not interfere with classroom instruction.