Schools plan ‘Instant Alert’ system
By DEB WUETHRICH
Parents and guardians of students in the Tecumseh Public Schools soon may be able to receive automatic alerts through a new program recently approved by the Tecumseh School Board. Honeywell Instant Alert™for Schools, a web based communication service designed to provide schools with a way to rapidly, effectively and accurately reach families of students in an emergency, is scheduled to be activated by December. The cost is based on the number of students enrolled, with an estimated $5,833 per year to be expended over the three-year contract.
Parents/guardians would provide E-mail, phone or text-message information to the district and receive an automatic alert for emergencies such as bomb threats, power failures, and snow days. They may also sign up to receive additional notices such as early dismissal announcements, late buses, parent teacher conference reminders, and other notifications.
More than 100 school districts in Michigan already use the system, including nearby Lenawee County districts such as Clinton and Britton-Macon.
District Superintendent Mike McAran said that the system does not shut off communication with families by other means, but acts as its name implies providing an “instant alert” to a situation that may be taking place. It can also be used by various subgroups to share information about sports teams, after school activities or specific grade level announcements.
The system would give school administration and staff the ability to send unlimited text messages to the parent/guardians of the entire student body and staff. Messages can be sent to one or multiple e-mail addresses, technology devices that have e-mail capability and cell phones with text-messaging capabilities. Parents and staff also will have the ability to access their family profile on the website and make any update or additions that they may require.
Families may access the service from any Internet-enabled personal computer. Parents would be the ones who determine the contact methods for the school to use for emergency or routine messages.