news every second matters virginia leads nation in public school digital mapping for emergencies
Local/Virginia

‘Every second matters:’ Virginia leads nation in public school digital mapping for emergencies

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Virginia’s K-12 Digital Mapping Program was introduced in April and has more than 1,000 schools and 85 divisions participating.

In the event of a mass casualty event, K-12 schools participating in the program have shared digitized maps with local and state first responders to aid in an emergency or crisis. Emergencies such as mass casualty events require clear communication and collaboration between first responders and school systems, according to a press release.

The mapping program is coordinated by the Department of Criminal Justice Services’ Virginia Center for School and Campus Safety (VCSCS).

“Our children’s safety is the utmost priority and I’m pleased that my administration is taking key steps to enhance school safety,” Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in the press release. “Virginia is the first state in the nation to execute a state initiative to standardize maps for all public schools. New Jersey followed our lead by adopting this same approach and several other states are rushing to address this vital issue as well.”

Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Robert Mosier said the goal is simple.

“We want to ensure that every public safety professional has access to the most up-to-date facility information in an emergency, because every second matters,” Mosier said.

The program funds up to $3,500 per public school, and continues to work with public school divisions to answer questions and facilitate the progress of digital mapping.

“As a parent, former police officer and legislator, and now director of DCJS, I am honored to support our public schools in this manner” Director of the Department of Criminal Justice Services Jackson Miller said in the press release. “DCJS is committed to strengthening and enhancing the collaboration between schools and first responders.”

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.