LA PLATA, Md. – The College of Southern Maryland (CSM) and Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) have partnered to provide a reunification site for CCPS students, staff and their families in case of an emergency at one of the county schools.

CSM has agreed to allow CCPS to use its Physical Education Center (PE Building), parking lots and access roads on the La Plata Campus to house and operate a family reunification center during a crisis. Reunification is the process the school system would use to communicate with parents and to reunite them with their children following a disaster or large-scale emergency at a school. Reunification centers are set up away from the crisis location to provide parents a secure place to receive information and to expedite the release of students.

“The College of Southern Maryland is pleased to support Charles County Public Schools in its school safety planning and to be a resource as a reunification center should the need arise,” said CSM President Dr. Maureen Murphy. “I applaud Superintendent Kimberly Hill and her team for being proactive in this type of planning. Emergencies by their very nature are unpredictable events, but putting into place this memorandum of understanding will help to ease the stress of making such decisions in the face of a crisis. We are grateful that we can be here for our community.”

“The reunification center partnership allows CCPS to create, practice and implement plans for family reunification before an emergency occurs,” said CCPS Superintendent Dr. Kimberly Hill. “We are able to provide a predictable reunification site that can be communicated to parents and incorporated in our school emergency plans.”

According to a CCPS press release, prior to the agreement, each CCPS school had to identify a nearby site for family reunification. The school system wanted a centrally located, large facility to house students and reunite them with parents. Additionally, the CSM building is readily accessible and will facilitate a more timely and efficient family reunification process, said CCPS Director of School Safety and Security.