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How do you do....it? Thread, Contacting Staff/Students in an Emergency in Technical; Well.. in the current panic stricken world that is caused by this latest flu epidemic, I have been asked if ...
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    User3204's Avatar
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    Contacting Staff/Students in an Emergency

    Well.. in the current panic stricken world that is caused by this latest flu epidemic, I have been asked if there is any way that "something" could be set up so that we can contact the staff/students to tell them "the school is closed".

    Now, the obvious thing to do is set up an email mailing/distribution list with every single staff/student in (or even two, one each). But the problem with that is, not everyone checks their email in the morning, before work (ermm.. no comment on this, ahem ).


    So, does anyone have a way of contacting staff, students, parents, to tell them to PANIC! ... err.. not come into school ?
    And, if so, how have you done this ?
    Is this via email, text, phone ?

    I suppose we would also want a 2nd message to say, "school open again", but this has less appeal to me. We used to have a telephone cascade, but it had never been tested, and it would fail, if people were unavailable.


    I thought that there might be a company who would do this as a service, but I find nothing useful from Google.

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    Quote Originally Posted by User3204 View Post
    Well.. in the current panic stricken world that is caused by this latest flu epidemic, I have been asked if there is any way that "something" could be set up so that we can contact the staff/students to tell them "the school is closed".

    Now, the obvious thing to do is set up an email mailing/distribution list with every single staff/student in (or even two, one each). But the problem with that is, not everyone checks their email in the morning, before work (ermm.. no comment on this, ahem ).


    So, does anyone have a way of contacting staff, students, parents, to tell them to PANIC! ... err.. not come into school ?
    And, if so, how have you done this ?
    Is this via email, text, phone ?

    I suppose we would also want a 2nd message to say, "school open again", but this has less appeal to me. We used to have a telephone cascade, but it had never been tested, and it would fail, if people were unavailable.


    I thought that there might be a company who would do this as a service, but I find nothing useful from Google.
    Something like Groupcall Groupcall - Parental Communications is what we are buying into.

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    TechMonkey's Avatar
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    Why not have a phone tree? Lo-tech I know but it works. Head contacts SLT, SLT contact selected department heads, Department heads contact staff. As long as everyone is included then it works. Plus beyond the first decision and call the system is distributed so more resilient, especially as once one department has gotten the word they normally phone friends in other departments so it spreads virally as well. Add to that that the dept heads need to keep their phone list up to date it spreads the load rather than one person having to run around and get numbers.

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    Roger's Avatar
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    We use this company

    We have used this system for 2 years now - very successfully.

    Keep Kids Safe Communication Project – By schools for schools


    Roger

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    Group Call
    Keep Kids Safe
    SchoolComms


    There are more txt services around there too, but try and keep it to one that links in with your MIS and make sure you keep your MIS up to date after recent issues of SMS being sent to the family of a deceased child.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    once one department has gotten the word they normally phone friends in other departments so it spreads virally as well.
    Unfortunate choice of words in the current situation...

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    Local radio is the best and cheapest way to do it.

    We also have teacher/support staff contact tree.

    EDIT: Also on the school website.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sippo View Post
    Local radio is the best and cheapest way to do it.

    We also have teacher/support staff contact tree.

    EDIT: Also on the school website.
    This is how we do it... And we have groupcall although its not used for that purpose.

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    SteveBentley's Avatar
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    Anyone tried Twitter for this? Particularly now they have free SMS to vodafone back.

    What about a dedicated RSS feed for announcing closures/re-openings?

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    ParentMail will allow sending of text messages as well as email.

    Local radio is the obvious one. The 'bad weather' passwords are equally valid for school closures for other reasons. Our most local station has it all set up so that we can register the closure and subsequent updates online, we don't even have to phone in.

    For emergency closures, we are present doing
    1) School website
    2) Local Radio
    3) Parent Mail

    Someone said they used twitter in the snow a few months back. I was going to look into this.

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    School website and a TXT to all parents, sixth form and staff notifying them of school closures and a follow up TXT the next day if the school is still closed or now open.

    We send our TXT messages through schoolcomms.

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    Have a look at teachers2parents.

    It is web-based, so people can access it at home. Out of all of the options I have seen it works out cheaper. We are giving it a 1 month trial here at the moment and it is absolutely fantastic!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sylv3r View Post
    School website and a TXT to all parents, sixth form and staff notifying them of school closures and a follow up TXT the next day if the school is still closed or now open.

    We send our TXT messages through schoolcomms.
    What's your method of keeping that list of text numbers up to date?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveBentley View Post
    What's your method of keeping that list of text numbers up to date?
    It pulls the information from SIMS. The numbers are generally kept up to date via a rolling data collection task throughout the year as well as parents more often than not contact the school if their details change.

    We are now doing first day response via TXT messaging and the parents are really happy with it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TechMonkey View Post
    Why not have a phone tree? Lo-tech I know but it works. Head contacts SLT, SLT contact selected department heads, Department heads contact staff. As long as everyone is included then it works. Plus beyond the first decision and call the system is distributed so more resilient, especially as once one department has gotten the word they normally phone friends in other departments so it spreads virally as well. Add to that that the dept heads need to keep their phone list up to date it spreads the load rather than one person having to run around and get numbers.
    We have phone trees for our kids as well. The person in the middle and end of each list phones us to say they have the received the information, so we know if a link breaks. We also have a recorded info line that I update every morning. But one flake of snow and the phones go manic!!!

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