Shelter-in-Place / Enhanced Code Blue

Shelter-in-place simply means that in certain emergency situations, it will be necessary to immediately secure students and staff indoors.


  • Wait for further instructions from Montgomery County Emergency Services / MCPS / Administration

Code Blue

  • Administration activates CODE BLUE
  • Students/staff/visitors must be accounted for and under supervision
  • Staff documents attendance
  • Classroom instruction continues
  • Hall passes may be restricted
  • Administration will direct class changes
  • Wait for further instructions from Montgomery County Emergency Services / MCPS / Administration

The nature and duration of the shelter-in-place will be determined by the emergency situation, public safety officials and/or MCPS officials.


Upon notification, the following immediate and simultaneous actions will take place:

  • Initiate Code Blue (enhanced)
  • Assemble OSET members (and other available staff as needed)
  • HVAC emergency ventilation shut-down
  • Secure and lock all exterior doors & windows
  • Announcements will be made regarding Code Blue/Shelter-in-Place
  • Ignore fire alarm; establish fire watch
  • Disregard bells
  • OSET will supervise movement in hallways (restrooms, health room, etc)
  • Students/staff outdoors will immediately be brought into the building
  • People arriving during the initial phase should be brought into building
  • Individuals arriving after the initial shelter-in-place will be directed to a safe area of refuge by public safety officials.
  • Access to any potentially exposed individuals will be denied until public safety officials advise differently.
  • Hold students in current locations until best course of action can be taken
  • Communications with public safety & MCPS officials maintained
  • Announcement will be made when shelter-in-place is concluded
  • Prepare for parent/child reunification

Chemical, Biological, Radiological Incidents

A chemical incident is defined as the release of toxic industrial chemicals and/or other agents that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.

A biological incident is defined as the release of bacteria, viruses, and/or toxins that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.

A radiological incident is defined as the release, exposure to, and/or dispersal of radioactive materials that are capable of causing bodily harm or death.

Notification of a chemical, biological or radiological incident may come via:

  • First-hand observation/knowledge of an immediate hazard
  • Public safety personnel
  • MCPS officials
  • Media sources

Shelter-in-Place / Enhanced Code Blue put in place 

Potential exposure issues: 

  • Notify office immediately
  • Individuals who have been exposed while in any classrooms should remain in place until fire and rescue personnel provide assistance.
  • If there is a reason to believe that an individual has been exposed to a hazardous material, they should be isolated until receiving further directions from public safety.

Medication Policy

Department of Health and Human Services
School Health Services

The MCPS Shelter-In-Place policy may be used for any type of emergency where it is necessary to assemble and secure students and staff indoors for a period which might extend beyond the school day. Ordinarily, School Health Services staff accept medication orders and medications which are administered to students during normal school hours by a registered nurse or delegated by the nurse to a health room technician (Certified Nursing Assistant) for whom they provide clinical oversight.

During a Shelter-in-Place situation, certain students may need medications to be administered that are normally given by parents outside of the school day. DHHS School Health Services staff will accept physician orders and medications from parents/guardians for students with diabetes, cardiac, conditions, seizures, asthma and other conditions where ongoing medication is needed to assure the student's health and safety.

  • A physician's order is required.
  • Medication must be in the original container with pharmacy label.
  • A two-day supply of medication is adequate.
  • SHS staff may only accept orders and medications which can be delegated to unlicensed individuals.
  • Nurses will work with parents and physicians to develop an emergency medication plan for students with special circumstances.
  • Certain students who have principal and parent permission to self-carry mediations are asked to provide physician orders to School Health Services staff.