Officials install emergency warning system in most classrooms

Media Credit: Abby Kennedy | Staff Photographer

The buttons are still undergoing final testing before they are officially put in use.

Officials have equipped most classrooms with GWorld readers and emergency lockdown buttons as part of a new emergency response system on campus.

University spokesperson Crystal Nosal said pressing the button triggers a classroom emergency lockdown, locking the classroom’s GWorld reader when the door is closed and notifying the GWPD of the emergency. She said the button should only be activated if there is a dangerous situation visibly present outside the classroom and allows each classroom to exert some control in a “fast-moving” situation.

She said officials began installing the emergency lockdown buttons near the front of classrooms beginning in late 2019 and continued over 2020 and summer 2021. She said a majority of classrooms on the Foggy Bottom, Mount Vernon and Virginia Science and Technology campuses have been equipped with the GWorld readers and lockdown buttons.

“Final testing of all the buttons will be complete in the near future, and a University-wide communication will be distributed at that time to explain how the buttons work and when to use them,” she said in an email.

Nosal said a light will appear once the button is pressed and activated, and the classroom door must be fully closed for the GWorld reader to lock. She added that people inside the classroom may still exit the room if needed while the door is locked from the outside.

“GWPD officers will be dispatched to the location to check on the status of the occupants,” Nosal said. “If there is an emergency in the room and immediate assistance from police is needed, the faculty member should always dial 9-1-1 even if they have activated the emergency lockdown button.”

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