HOPEWELL, Va. (WRIC) — Hopewell City Public Schools is changing the way safety is practiced in the classrooms. The school district is upgrading its lockdown and evacuation drills to make sure they’re ready if an active shooter shows up.

Dr. Jay McClain, the school district’s deputy superintendent, said they’ll have lockdown and evacuation drills this week, but with different scenarios.

“You’re not just sitting there waiting for something to happen,” McClain said. “You’re being more active to do something to protect your safety.”

The Virginia Department of Education gives guidance to schools on how to do lockdown drills. McClain said the school division has had those guidelines in place for years.

But now Hopewell schools will practice evacuating or staying inside the school depending on the situation. He said this idea came from another organization called A.L.I.C.E. It stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evacuate.

“There’s a number of different groups and studies that have come out that have talked about just locking down is usually not the safest thing to do,” he said.

The changes came after the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting in May where more than a dozen students and teachers were killed.

Hopewell schools also boosted security by adding door sensors and working closely with police.

“The best strategy when you would have an active shooter is…you make that determination of whether to evacuate or stay in the room based on where it’s happening in the school,” McClain said.

Richmond Public Schools told 8News that each school updated their lockdown plan and retrained staff in the spring. They also increased the number of lockdown drills per school year to four which is above the state’s mandated minimum requirement of two.

Henrico Public Schools told 8News Tuesday that emergency response plans for schools and offices are reviewed annually and updated with input from the school division’s office of emergency management. They also follow the state’s requirements for the number and type of drills conducted each year.

Hanover Public Schools told 8News that they don’t have any immediate plan to change their approach, but they do continuously refine and evaluate their safety and security measures.

Over the past several years the school system has been installing additional security cameras at schools, installing a visitor management system at every school, installing vestibules to control entry into our schools, and upgrading our locking systems.