District 51 eyes use of alert system

School District 51 sees potential for the Grand Junction Regional Communication Center’s emergency-notification system beyond public safety updates.

The system, which is expected to be launched soon, will send alerts to a person’s cellular, home or work phone by call or text message, or send a note to a participant’s e-mail address any time the city of Grand Junction or Mesa County wants to update residents about an issue or emergency. Only people who sign up for the notifications will receive them.

District 51 is negotiating a way to have the system send messages to a list of people who want updates sent to their phone or e-mail address whenever an emergency situation occurs at a school. The district would alert the 911 communications center about the emergency, and the call center would send out the message, District 51 Safety Coordinator Tim Leon said.

The updates would be limited to situations expected to last longer than an hour, such as a lockdown.

“We’ve been looking at something like this since Virginia Tech,” Leon said, referring to the incident in 2007 when a student shot and killed 33 people at the college.

Leon said use of the system would not cost the school district anything. Leon said the district’s goal is to have registration for the notification system by next school year.


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