Valley Schools Take Part in Great ShakeOut

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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) -- Kids across the Commonwealth ducked under their classroom tables as part of the Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drill, which was made mandatory after a devastating disaster in Virginia.

For the kids, the drill was in good fun, but the purpose behind it was a very serious matter.

Just four years ago in August 2011, a historic 5.8 magnitude earthquake caused extensive damage in Louisa County, even closing down Louisa County High School for the rest of the year.

After that, Gov. Terry McAuliffe made an annual drill a part of sate law.

On Thursday, students at John Wayland Elementary in Rockingham County practiced their duck-and-covers.

"When children practice these kinds of safety procedures, it gives them a confidence and a sense of security that we are here to help them and that they know what to do, in case there was a problem," said David Burchfield, the school principal.

"Part of education is preparing our children, not just for SOLs but for life," Burchfield said. "When we're in a building like this, we need to be prepared for what can happen --and so we do all kinds of drills now."

This year, more than one million Virginians signed up to take part in the drill.