#271 Safety & Health


Coeur d'Alene Public Schools — November 21, 2019


  • The latest on teen vaping
  • Is your child addicted to gaming?
  • About Safety Holds and Lockdowns
  • Delays or closures due to weather
  • Meet a school nurse and an SRO
  • How girls can Find Kind
  • Diabetes and flu awareness
  • Watch out for kids in the dark
  • Driving with snowplows

Our multi-pronged approach to teen vaping

The District and our schools continue to explore strategies to confront the emerging health crisis from teen use of vaping devices for nicotine and other substances. We are tackling this problem through enforcement and education.

PATROLS: Our new campus safety officers at Coeur d'Alene High School and Lake City High School are helping to discourage student vaping this year. Each school has two CSOs who patrol hallways, restrooms, parking lots and other areas where students have been found using e-cigarettes. Both schools report seeing fewer problems with vaping this fall, thanks to the extra eyes our CSOs now provide. We are exploring options for adding a Campus Safety Officer position at each of our three middle schools to increase supervision of students at that level. (Accompanying photo shows some of the vape devices confiscated in our high schools.)

DISCIPLINE: A student caught with a vaping device will be issued a $74 minor in possession citation by the police. The student also will be given a three-day suspension, to be served at school. (In-school suspensions help students stay on top of their work while also addressing their behavioral issues.)

EDUCATION: The risks of teen vaping, including warnings from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, are addressed in our health classes. The district is looking for assistance from community partners to offer more education for our students and families about the harmful effects of vaping.

POLICIES: District policies prohibit students from using or possessing tobacco or nicotine as well as e-cigarettes and vaporizers. Smoking and vaping by anyone, including visitors and staff, is prohibited on school property or at school events, even those held off school property.

CHALLENGES: An ongoing challenge is how to keep up with the ever-changing design of vaping devices. They are small and easy to conceal, often resembling everyday items such as a pen, USB device, smart watch, phone case, backpack or hoodie drawstring. Advancements in vaping technology allow students to vape undetected in class. We also have seen some students with repeated violations, indicating they may be developing nicotine dependence.

LEGISLATION: Several states are working to ban flavored e-cigarettes and vaping products that appeal to young people, and to raise the age to purchase tobacco products from 18 to 21. Our Board of Trustees will monitor legislation to combat teen vaping during the 2020 Idaho Legislature.

Learn more here about how vaping and e-cigarettes are unsafe for kids, teens and young adults.

How a Safety Hold and a Lockdown work

Our students and staff practice what to do in a Safety Hold and in a Lockdown. It's important to know what each response is and when we use it:

Safety Hold: A school may impose a Safety Hold as a precautionary measure in response to a variety of situations that may have an impact on the school. Typically this would be a situation occurring outside the building or near the school that is of concern but does not pose an imminent danger. Examples include a nearby hazardous materials incident, certain weather events, law enforcement activity in the neighborhood, an aggressive dog on the loose, or an unauthorized person on school grounds. Certain events inside a school also may result in a Safety Hold, such as a student needing emergency aid. In a Safety Hold, no one is permitted to enter or leave the school, and students and staff remain in their rooms but carry on as usual, with heightened awareness. If a Lockdown becomes necessary, it is easier to initiate the Lockdown directly from a Safety Hold.

Lockdown: A Lockdown occurs when there is a perceived, immediate safety threat, such as an intruder or an indication than someone intends to do harm. During a Lockdown, staff and students immediately seek refuge and remain behind locked doors. If you are on campus, outside the building, please leave the area immediately. No one is allowed to enter the building. Law enforcement will respond to the scene and secure the school. No one else should attempt to approach the school or call anyone inside the school. Communications must be suspended to ensure the safety of those attempting to remain quiet and concealed inside the building. A Lockdown will likely transition into a Safety Hold before the school returns to its regular status.

Learn more here about school safety and security in our District.

Winter weather: How a Delayed Start works

When we have severe weather or hazardous driving conditions, the District may cancel school or delay the start of the school day. Learn more about weather alerts, school closures and how we share these updates at www.cdaschools.org/closures.

A delayed start can be useful on mornings when extra time is needed to clear snow from streets, parking lots and sidewalks; put down sand in icy areas; or attend to other maintenance needs. In the event of a delayed start announcement, please keep in mind:

  • Generally, a delayed start means everything will begin two hours later than usual. This includes bus routes.
  • Schools will continue to offer breakfast for students immediately before school starts, and for students in our School PLUS program.
  • Unless we indicate otherwise, after-school programs will be unaffected by a delayed start.
  • The morning program at Kootenai Technical Education Campus will be canceled. The afternoon bus to KTEC will run on its usual schedule.
  • Half-day morning kindergarten classes and the morning session at our Early Learning Center will be canceled. Half-day morning kindergarten students may use our Kinder PLUS program if they are registered in advance.
  • School PLUS, our in-school child care program, will continue to provide morning care for elementary students at all 11 elementary schools, beginning at 6:45 a.m. Kinder PLUS also will be open at 6:45 a.m. at our Early Learning Center.
  • Students must be registered in advance to attend School PLUS and Kinder PLUS.
  • School PLUS and Kinder PLUS are not able to accept registrations on the morning of a delayed-start day. For more information, call (208) 769-0700 or email schoolplus@cdaschools.org.

School nurse profile: Ashley Jameson

Meet Ashley Jameson, our School Nurse for Atlas and Borah elementary schools. Ashley is in her 10th year as a school nurse. Before joining our District, she worked at Foothills Elementary School in the White River School District in Washington for eight years. Last year she was at Borah and Fernan STEM Academy.

Ashley received her certificate in Licensed Practice Nursing in 2003 at Bellingham Technical College. In 2017 she graduated from Indiana State University with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, then obtained her license to be a Registered Nurse.

"I love being able to interact with the kids and help them," Ashley says. "I enjoy elementary aged students."

She emphasizes how important prevention is in health care. "The role of a school nurse in prevention and education is often overlooked. The school nurse enables students to attend school safely and have less illness-related absences. They are also an important part of the health team and education team in developing the whole individual."

Ashley and her family moved to the Coeur d'Alene area in 2018. "So far we love living in Northern Idaho!" she says. "I also love running. It is a great form of exercise and stress relief for me. I love the mountains and the ocean."

Learn more here about our Health Services and Nursing program.

SRO spotlight: Nate Petersen, CdA Police

Detective Nate Petersen, our School Resource Officer at Lake City High School, has been with the Coeur d'Alene Police Department since 2004. He is in his fifth year as an SRO at Lake City.

"The best part about being an SRO is the ability to build positive relationships with students," he tells us. "Being in the school allows me to gain their trust and respect. Students often feel more comfortable talking with me because they know me and we have a good rapport. I often talk with students while they are dealing with difficult situations. Being at the school allows me the chance to help through these situations and gives me the ability to follow up and give continued support to them and their families. I also get to be a positive role model to where there might not be another positive role model in their lives."

Detective Petersen said he takes safety in our schools very seriously, working closely with school administrators. He's on the School Emergency Response Plan teams for Lake City and for the District. "We meet often to brainstorm how to make our school a safer place. I encourage people to reach out to me or the school district if there are areas of concern or if they have thoughts or ideas on making our schools safer."

Petersen enjoys volunteering his time to coach youth sports. "It gives me another avenue to be a positive role model for today's youth," he says. "This fall I coached two soccer teams and a football team. On average I coach between four and six youth teams per year, for ages ranging from kindergarten through seventh grade."

For the past seven years he also has been a firearm instructor for the Police Academy and the Coeur d'Alene Police Department. "I appreciate the opportunity to talk and give guidance to our up and coming police officers."

Free showing of "Finding Kind" is tonight

Girls in our middle schools have watched the documentary film "Finding Kind," including during a three-school assembly Wednesday with the filmmakers. Now you can watch it as well. A free showing of the film will be hosted tonight (November 21) at 6:45 PM at Hayden Discount Cinema.

"Finding Kind" explores female relationships and how women and girls treat each other. Go here to learn more about the film, the women who made it, and their Kind Campaign.

Know the warning signs of Type 1 diabetes

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and we want to call attention to Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease that affects about 1 in 400 people under the age of 20. Caused by a lack of insulin, this condition is commonly misdiagnosed.

Many people diagnosed with Type 1 are seen by their primary care physicians with different symptoms weeks prior to diagnosis or death from undiagnosed Type 1. Recognizing the early warning signs of this condition is critical. The signs and symptoms can appear relatively suddenly and may include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Bed-wetting in children who previously did not wet the bed at night
  • Extreme hunger
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Irritability and other mood changes
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Blurred vision

The SEARCH for Diabetes in Youth study, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, found that from 2002 to 2012, the rate of new diagnosed cases of Type 1 diabetes in youth increased by about 1.8 percent each year.

How the flu is spread, and how to stay healthy

People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Less often, a person might get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Symptoms can begin about two days after the virus enters the body. That means you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those people may still spread the virus to others.

People who have flu often feel some or all of these symptoms: fever or feeling feverish/chills,

cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue. Some may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children.

People with flu are most contagious in the 3 to 4 days after their illness begins. Some otherwise healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick.

Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others with flu viruses for an even longer time.

Learn more here about the steps you and your family can take to avoid the flu.

Big picture

Student safety when it's dark outside

With the hours of daylight quickly growing shorter, we are seeing more students traveling to and from school in the dark. We urge drivers to be extra cautious of children and teens who are waiting at bus stops, walking and biking at dawn and dusk.

Parents can help their kids be noticeable to drivers. Students should have some form of clothing, backpack or other item that is reflective, or some form of light to shine as they walk. Dark clothing is a major factor when it comes to pedestrian versus vehicle accidents.

Also advise your kids to pay attention to their surroundings. Put phones and headphones down when crossing the street. Being distracted by technology while walking is becoming a major cause of pedestrian accidents.

Let's keep all our kids safe this winter!

Teach young drivers how to drive around snowplows

It’s November, and drivers have already encountered snowy conditions in North Idaho. It’s a good time to remind ourselves how to prepare for winter travel, and also how to drive around snow plows. The Idaho Transportation Department would like to remind drivers of safe winter driving practices:

  • Never pass plows — Generally speaking, it’s safer behind them. If you feel it is safe to pass, only pass on the left, as snow is typically sent off to the right of the truck. Watch out for the wing plow, which is a smaller plow on the right side of the truck.
  • Don’t crowd the plow — Plows need room to work. They are pieces of heavy equipment that take up an entire lane, and since they apply salt products from the back, you never want to follow closely.
  • Know the blind spots — Just like all vehicles, there are blind spots on plows. If drivers are following too closely or are attempting to pass, there’s a good chance they aren’t visible to operators. Avoid spending time in these areas.

Check out more winter resources, and which app you should download on your phone to know before you go.

Screenagers: Gaming - A new approach

Teen boys are spending 9 hours on average each week playing video games. And of course, there are many girls who spend a lot of time on video games too. The teens that are really hooked are often up late into the night playing and can spend 9 hours easily in one day. They do this for many reasons, including because it is fun, social, they get to level up, AND, the companies are doing a great job of hooking them.

You may have read recently that the Chinese government is so concerned about their youths’ addiction that they have set a gaming curfew for young gamers. During weekdays, kids and teens in China will now be limited to about 90 minutes per day to play videos and cannot play video games after 10 p.m. It’s not likely that would occur in many other places, but it does reinforce that we need to take this seriously and figure out some solutions.

In a new episode of Tech Talk Tuesday, Delaney Ruston explores why our youth can slip into too much gaming, and what we can do to help them reduce that time.

See or hear something? Say something!

All Coeur d'Alene Public Schools staff, parents, students and community members are encouraged to report any school-related safety concerns and to alert administrators to any potential threat. There are several ways you can do this:

  • If you hear, see or are made aware of an immediate possible threat or danger, call 911.
  • You also can use our district Tip Line to report a threat easily, quickly and anonymously.
  • Or use our mobile app, which has a "Report a Threat" feature. Get the app on Google Play, or download it from the App Store. Search for Coeur d'Alene Public Schools. Read more about our app.

How we communicate in emergencies

In the event of a school emergency or lockdown, we will communicate about what is happening just as soon as we are able to confirm the information from school officials, law enforcement or emergency responders. Our goal is to provide credible, accurate and useful information to the public as soon as possible.

Look for updates on the District Facebook page (@cdaschools) and Twitter feed (@cdaschools). We also may post an onscreen alert on our website. Another way we keep in touch is by sending messages directly to the parents and guardians of our students. This may include emergency text messages or email. Please make sure your emergency contact information is up to date in your child's Skyward account; the number listed in the No. 3 phone contact needs to be your cell number.

We will provide updates to local news media as well, but emergency situations can change rapidly. When multiple agencies are involved, communication is coordinated through a lead agency, which may cause a delay in notification. Please help us control the spread of rumors and unconfirmed details. Information shared by others on social media may be inaccurate and could prove harmful.