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Edmonton public using new messaging system to notify parents of school emergencies

Edmonton public to text about school emergencies
WATCH ABOVE: Edmonton's public school district is launching a new emergency notification system that will text parents when there's an emergency at their child's school. Emily Mertz reports.

If there’s an emergency at an Edmonton public school — like a lockdown or evacuation — the district has a new system in place to alert parents immediately.

SchoolMessenger will be used to send notifications via phone or text in real time. Alerts will only be sent for major incidents.

READ MORE: What’s the difference between a school lockdown and a ‘hold and secure’? 

“A major emergency would be something like an evacuation, a lockdown, weather-related events,” explained Carrie Rosa, a spokesperson for the Edmonton Public School Board (EPSB).

“This new messaging system will call parents — it will always call parents — but it also has an option to text parents.”

The district is asking all parents to ensure schools have their most up-to-date contact information.

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Before SchoolMessenger, different schools used different methods to alert parents — from automated phone calls or letters sent home with kids to messages through School Zone. This new system will create consistency across all 213 public schools.

“Parents will know as quickly as possible,” Rosa said. “As soon as we’re able to confirm the information of the emergency, we’ll let parents know.

“This will let them know when an emergency happens right at the time it’s happening.”

READ MORE: Wireless emergency alerts coming to Alberta April 6 

Parents of EPSB students will be receiving more information about SchoolMessenger and how to opt in to the text option in the coming weeks.