Teachers and staff in Richmond County schools will soon have another tool to help them respond in an emergency.
Right now, teachers have ways they can quickly call for help from the classroom.
“They have phones and in some schools it’s a button that you press so when you lift the receiver it immediately calls to the front office,” RCSS Spokesperson Kaden Jacobs explains.
Tuesday, the board approved the addition of a crisis management app called NaviGate Prepared. The app allows alerts and instructions to be disseminated to a phone or a tablet.
“It’s a system that we can implement in a school proper or the entire school system,” Board Member Charlie Walker says.
The app is meant for big issues, but Walker says it could have implications on a smaller scale too.
“How many times do we really have a fire in a school. We might not during the year so we might not use it for that, but… what if there was a really big incident in the lunch room where a group of people were involved in a fight? Does that become more than just a fight? Does it become a crisis?” Walker asks rhetorically.
The app can be used to record who is accounted for after an emergency alarm is activated. It can also be used as a training tool to walk teachers through different scenarios to help them understand the proper response. The app can hold protocol information for a variety of drills– evacuation, active shooter, fire, etc.
“In this instance, it would all be electronic so it would show up on a phone or a tablet everybody would get notified at the same time,” Walker points out. “If you are a particular person who had a particular responsibility, you would be reminded of what that responsibility is so you don’t have to go to the office and grab a binder so it’s more immediate.”
Now that the app is approved, the school system will start to explore all they ways they can use it to protect the student body.
School leaders say it will take a few months to get the app up and running. They hope to have it ready by January.