New Updates Regarding School Emergency Communications
At the beginning of each school year, our district works to update parent and staff emergency contact information, publicize school communication resources, and practice emergency systems. This year, we are also making a few adjustments to improve our systems and practices.
NEW THIS YEAR:
The Snoqualmie Valley School District has used the SchoolMessenger system as a reliable emergency communications tool for sending automated voice messages to parent/guardian and staff phone numbers in our system. This year, the district is working to expand the capabilities of this system -- to include mass email and text notifications, in addition to phone calls. With this change, we will be able to implement SchoolMessenger to push out a message simultaneously via voice, email and text – to more quickly and effectively notify parents and staff in an emergency. Notifications may be sent districtwide or specifically to one school community, depending on the situation.
Since texting may incur a cost for users, parents/guardians (and staff) who want to allow texts need to “opt in” for this capability. There are two ways to opt in to receive text messages:
- On your mobile phone, simply address a text to: 67587, and type “Y” or “YES” as the message, then hit send. Read this flyer (in English and Spanish) for more information about the SchoolMessenger Text Messaging Service.
- Also, on Monday, October 1, a text message from the Snoqualmie Valley School District will be sent to all parent cell numbers in the Skyward system, who have not yet opted to receive texts. This one-time message will ask recipients to respond with “Y” if they want to allow texts. The message will read as follows: “Snoqualmie Valley School District messages. Reply Y to confirm, HELP 4 info. Msg&data rates may apply. Msg freq varies. Schoolmessenger.com/tm”
Please note that if you sign up and change your mind, you can also opt out of text messages at any time by simply replying to one of our messages with “Stop”.
A Change Regarding Early Morning Call-outs for School Closures/Delays
Based on feedback from a communications survey the district conducted last year, the majority of respondants were in favor of the district using the automated call out system for early-morning notifications to ALL FAMILIES -- when “Schools are Closed” or for a “2-Hour Late Start”. So starting this year, the district will begin using the SchoolMessenger system’s call-out/email/text notifications to notify ALL FAMILIES – around 5:15 – 5:30 a.m. -- when inclement weather conditions require a schedule change.
Those who would prefer not to receive an early morning call from the Snoqualmie Valley School District certainly have the option to place a phone on “do not disturb”. (In the past, we posted this information in a variety of places, but reserved the call-out system for mid-day or evening needs.)
With this change, the following process will apply on most mornings when an early decision is made to alter the school schedule:
- An ALL STAFF call/email/text will be initiated as soon as a decision is made, typically between 4:30-5:00 a.m.
- An ALL PARENTS call/email/text will follow -- between 5:15-5:30 a.m.
- Schedule changes involving closures and delays will also continue to be posted on other communications resources: district website, FlashAlert.net, media, district Facebook/Twitter, and district hotline. (See below for details.)
Upcoming ALL PARENT TEST Call-out:
The District will conduct its annual ALL PARENT TEST call-out on Wednesday, October 3, between 5-6:30 p.m. All parents/guardians of active students enrolled in our schools will be sent a test emergency message – in the form of a voice message to their home/cell phone number(s), an email message to the email address they provided their school(s), and as a text message (to those who opt in to receive texts, per above).
Parents, if you have not yet verified your contact information this year, please do so through the district’s online RSVP process in Family Access. The RSVP link has been turned back on (and will remain open through October 15) to encourage families to verify and update their emergency contact information. We want to make sure our schools have a way to reach you if there is ever an emergency at your child’s school.
After the October 3 ALL PARENT TEST, if you did not receive a test message or if you discover some other issue, please contact office staff at your school for assistance.
District Emergency Communication Resources
Do you know where to look for updates in the event of a school emergency? Please refer to the following resources for updates from the Snoqualmie Valley School District, on questionable mornings or when there is a mid-day emergency. (Keep these handy for future reference.)
- District website: svsd410.org Look for the top headline for details. Also, check the district “announcement” (upper left corner of homepage) when schools will be closed or starting late. NOTE: The website is typically the first and primary resource that is updated in an emergency.
- District hotline: 425-831-8494 Call in to hear a recorded message.
- FlashAlert.net: sign up for emails/texts of information sent to the media (See instructions below on how to download a free FlashAlert Messenger app or sign up online to receive email messages regarding school closures and delays.)
- Tune in to local TV & radio stations
- District Facebook: facebook.com/svsd410/ and District Twitter: @SnoqValleySD
If there is no message regarding the Snoqualmie Valley School District, assume all of our schools are running on schedule. (We do not send a message stating schools are on schedule.)
To learn how our district decides when a school delay or closure is needed, read Be Prepared for School Schedule Changes. Be sure to double check the resources above just prior to leaving for school too, since there have been rare occasions when conditions have worsened significantly between the time a decision is made (before 5 a.m.) and the actual start time of school.
To understand a parent’s role during a school emergency, please refer to the School Emergency Information Guide for Parents and Guardians. This brochure outlines important information and instructions for parents that will help support their student’s safety in the event of an emergency at school.
To sign up for www.FlashAlert.net: The Snoqualmie Valley School District uses FlashAlert.net, along with all Puget Sound area school districts, to post emergency closure information to local media. Subscribers can view school closure information online as well as sign up to receive the brief email message that news media receive. The preferred method, however, for subscribers to access emergency closure information is through the free mobile app called FlashAlert Messenger. To sign up online:
- Go to FlashAlert.net.
- Click on Manage your Messenger Subscription.
- Follow instructions to login or Create New Account.
- Choose a region to Add an Organization.
- Select Seattle/Western Washington.
- Search for King Co. Schools and Snoqualmie Valley SD.
- Click Subscribe and follow instructions for confirming your email address and account options.
- Information about downloading the free FlashAlert Messenger app is also on this page.
As our schools work to practice and improve our safety systems, we appreciate your partnership and efforts to ensure your family’s contact information is up to date.