On May 2, 2013 a fugitive wanted by the FBI was spotted in the Madison, Wisconsin area. The Verona Area School District located in the area went into lockdown for more than two hours due to the incident. However, many parents were unaware this emergency situation occurred.
Although Verona School District utilizes emergency alerts via text and email, many parents did not receive them. Parents who were not informed of the situation complained to the school district for the lack of communication.
“Timing is everything,” Verona Superintendent Dean Gorrell said. “You don’t have those kind of emergency situations come up very often and when you do you’d like to be able to reach people.”
Since the incident, the school district has taken steps to ensure this communication issue does not arise in the future, especially if another emergency situation was to occur. Verona School District has decided to focus on sending emergency alerts via text message.
In order to ensure student families will receive text notifications, administrators will ask for a current cell phone number during student enrollment and automatically add the contact information to their database. With texting being the quickest method of communication for many parents, Verona School District is trying to encourage parents to choose this option to receive school notifications.
A similar strategy has proven successful by a district nearby. The Madison School District requires parents to provide one emergency phone number for their voice message notifications. The school district currently has about 4,500 numbers for SMS text messages and 20,000 for voice calls.
When emergency situations occur, it is critical for schools to have reliable communication between school administrators, staff and student families. With a school notification system, such as School Announcement, schools can ensure their messages are being sent quickly and reliably through preferred communication methods, including voice, email and SMS text messaging.
Does your school have a reliable school notification system? Learn more about School Announcement, today!