Emergency Communication Guidelines for Parents
Student Safety is Our First Priority
Student and employee safety is the first concern of Athens City Schools. In the event of a crisis, natural disaster or inclement weather situation, we want all parents and stakeholders to be assured that our top priority is the safety and security of every person on our campuses.
How We Prepare
The school system maintains a crisis communication plan that outlines the procedures to follow when communicating with parents and the media in a crisis situation. Various communication outlets are activated when a crisis occurs at one of our schools. Parents are encouraged to update contact information at the school level.The school system maintains a crisis communication plan that outlines the procedures to follow when communicating with parents and the media in a crisis situation. Various communication outlets are activated when a crisis occurs at one of our schools. Parents are encouraged to update contact information at the school level.
During any emergency, natural disaster or severe weather situation, we will provide information to parents and stakeholders as quickly as possible after the situation is contained. Athens City Schools has implemented Blackboard Connect, a mass notification service that enables us to contact parents and guardians by telephone, text message, push notification and email. To ensure you receive these important messages, promptly notify your child’s school of any updates or changes to your family’s contact information. Blackboard Connect may also be used by schools to send out important information.
- UPDATE YOUR INFORMATION So that we can keep you informed, make sure your emergency contact information is accurate and updated. Having a current email address, SMS text number and phone number is critical in notifying you. This information is gathered initially during the enrollment/re-enrollment process in SchoolMint. Any changes after re-enrollment must be done at the school level.
- DOWNLOAD THE ACS APP This allows you to receive push notifications. Available in iTunes or Google Play. Search for "Athens City Schools."
- CHECK YOUR SETTINGS Set you phone and app settings to RECEIVE/ALLOW Notifications. If you do not allow notifications, you may miss an alert. In app settings, select the school(s) from which you wish to receive notifications.
- FOLLOW US FOR FIRST ALERTS Follow the school system on Twitter @AthensALSchools and like us on Facebook (Athens City Schools). The district website will contain notices. www.acs-k12.org
The following are terms and descriptions that we use with our students and staff during emergencies:
Emergencies During School Day:
During the school day when response time is critical, phone messages are sent to EVERY number listed as a “contact” in a student’s file. Email, text, push notifications and social media are also used.
Emergencies Prior to School Day:
These messages are typically sent to only the primary number indicated on a student’s file. Email, text, push notifications and social media are also used.
This means a potential may exist for an unusual situation and all parties should have heightened awareness to react as needed. Movement is limited to and from classrooms. Staff and teachers are on the lookout for unusual behavior both inside and outside the school. Exterior doors are checked to make sure they are secure. Classes continue as normal inside the school.
This action is initiated when a threat is identified within the community/neighborhood and means the school is on alert. People are secured within the building and windows are covered; however, classes continue as normal inside the school.
A lockdown takes place if an immediate threat of danger is identified. Doors are locked and staff take immediate action using the safest and best option for protecting students.
Students take refuge in designated areas to protect from hazardous materials or severe weather. Entry or exit from the school will be controlled.
In the event of certain building emergencies, students will be relocated to an appropriate evacuation assembly area.
- Trust that during an emergency our first priority is the safety and protection of students. Once students are safe and full and accurate information regarding the situation is gathered, communication efforts to parents will be initiated.
- Trust that staff and students are prepared for emergency situations. Schools participate in emergency drills throughout the year, and staff and emergency responders know the best procedures for keeping students safe.
- Trust that local law enforcement will arrive onsite and take command of emergency situations.
- DO NOT call or rush to your child’s school. Phone lines, office staff and parking lots are needed for emergency response efforts. Arriving at the school may endanger your life and that of others. Please wait for instructions.
- DO NOT phone/text your child at the school. The noise of cell phones and phone conversations could put students in danger. Students need to be paying attention to instructions from trained staff. Conflicting instructions from parents may put a child’s safety at risk.
How will I be reunited with my child?
Parents/guardians will be directed by school or public safety officials to their child’s specific location for reunification. This information will be distributed via the emergency communication outlets listed here. Students will be released ONLY to parents/guardians or other designated individuals who are documented as emergency contacts. All individuals picking up students will be required to present a valid picture ID such as driver’s license, military ID, Permanent Resident ID card or passport. The reunification process can be time-consuming, so everyone is urged to be patient.
MULTIPLE outlets will be used for updates:Blackboard Connect Mass Notification System (phone, text, app push notifications and email). Download the ACS App to received push notifications and text messages from ACS). Adjust settings on your phone and in the app to ALLOW notifications.
- Twitter (@AthensALSchools)
- Facebook (@AthensALSchools)
- Local TV and radio stations
- Due the speed of the app and social media, all official emergency information will be posted via these channels first.
Following the emergency, we encourage parents to:
- Listen to and acknowledge your child’s concerns.
- Provide reassurance that your child is safe.
- Seek help from school personnel or a mental health professional if concerns persist.
- Should you or your child have serious concerns in response to an emergency or crisis, contact your child’s school directly for information and guidance.