Pickerington Local School District parents now will receive voice, text and email messages about school-related alerts through a new communications system.
The district this school year has implemented a new rapid communications system, One Call Now.
Although the district's ListServe notification system is still in use, district officials said One Call Now is an upgrade because it can provide voice-message alerts -- in addition to texts and emails -- to all parents and guardians within the district.
"We purchased this in August for this school year," said Walt Podgurski, the district's technology director.
"This system gives us the ability to deliver voice message, which we've never had," he said.
"Now we can deliver voice messages very quickly across the district for parents and others."
The district has contracted for One Call Now services for three years. Annual costs will be $16,483, Podgurski said.
The system contacts parents through data provided to the PLSD's Infinite Campus student information system.
Therefore, Podgurski said, parents and students' legal guardians should make sure their contact information is up to date.
Contact information can be verified by logging in to the Infinite Campus parent portal at http://www.pickerington.k12.oh.us/contentPage.aspx?schoolid=0&cid=482, or by calling respective schools.
Alerts then will be sent by individual school building administrators or from the District Office for everything from upcoming events, school cancelations, delays in bus transportation and absenteeism.
"The real advantage of One Call Now is the ability to be able to contact a group of parents, all parents, at a moment's notice whether it's about a school cancelation, a delay, information concerning an athletic team or anything like that," said Rob Walker, Pickerington superintendent.
"It's just the flexibility and the way it's delivered," Walker said.
"We just feel the rapid ability to contact all parents if there's a road closing or something like that is something that was much needed, particularly in today's times," he said.
Podgurski said One Call Now can send voice, text and email messages land-line and mobile telephones.
He also said it features a mobile app called "My Call Now," which allows parents to organize and save messages, as well as to get push notifications on their mobile devices.
"We are encouraging parents to activate their Infinite Campus portal account," Podgurski said. "Doing so would enable them to update their contact information."