Take this call: Understanding the importance of updated contact information
Published 6:56 pm Thursday, February 20, 2014
From Beaufort County Schools
There are a number of scenarios in which Beaufort County Schools will need to contact a parent or guardian of a student. Each scenario may come with a different degree of importance.
“We are charged with seeing to the safety and welfare of each student during the school day, and that is a responsibility we take very seriously,” explained Sarah Hodges, public information officer for Beaufort County Schools. “A portion of that responsibility is to ensure parents are kept up to date of any emergency situations, daily announcements or anything in between. “
There are two different types of calls that may be launched from the automated call system at Beaufort County Schools. They are outreach calls and emergency notifications.
Outreach calls are typically general notifications such as weekly announcements, event reminders or even cafeteria debt reminders. Notification of closings and delays, when done early during the evening prior, are also done as outreach. These calls are sent to only the primary number in the student’s data file.
Emergency calls, which require immediate attention or action on the part of parents, are typically closings and delays that occur with short notice, bomb threats or bus accidents — to name a few examples. When an emergency call is launched, it contacts every number on file for each student. This gives the school system a better chance of reaching the parent.
“We have worked very hard over the past few years to improve our crisis communication practices with parents,” said Hodges. “When something does occur during the school day, we do our best to keep the parents informed.”
This also applies to periods before and after school. Schools keep lists of riders for each bus route in the system. In the event of a bus delay, accident or breakdown, schools are able to notify parents of important information such as details regarding any incident and the safety of their child.
“But if the information is not accurate, our hands are tied,” Hodges said.
Regardless of the type of announcement, it is important that parents and guardians keep their contact numbers up to date at the child’s school.
An update form may be obtained from the Beaufort County Schools website, www.beaufort.k12.nc.us, and provide it to your child’s school so it is updated in the student data system. If you do not have Internet access, a copy of the form may be requested from any school or Beaufort County Schools’ Central Services at 946-6593.
The student data system updates the automated call system automatically each afternoon.
Some parents have begun using the Parent Portal, attached to the call system. This allows them to tailor how they receive messages, such as requesting text and other options. For those utilizing this system, the school system still needs them to keep their information up to date at the appropriate school.