DENVER (CBS4)– Colorado’s largest school district is changing how they notify parents in emergency situations, everything from security threats to weather delays and cancellations. Denver Public Schools families raised concerns about delayed alerts during last month’s snowstorm that forced an early release of students.
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“I think they’ve shouldn’t have even sent them today,” one parent told CBS4 at the time.
The weather in Colorado can bring its own set of obstacles for school districts, but DPS officials acknowledge their notifications were not reaching all parents quickly enough.
DPS Deputy Superintendent Mark Ferrandino said that issue was brought to light last April, when an FBI manhunt for Sol Paiz, 18, forced the closure of nearly every school on the Front Range.
“One of our first communications that went out, it took some families four to five hours from when we sent it to receive that message, that’s not acceptable,” he said.READ MORE: 'This Is Offering Them Shelter For The Night': City Of Northglenn Converts Old Rec Center Into Winter Housing For Homeless
During that event the district needed to notify more than 90,000 families at once, but the old system would send them out one right after another.
“This new messenger doesn’t do that, that’s why it’s 911 capable or certified, it is able to get out very quickly to as many people as we need,” Ferrandino said.
DPS says their goal has always been to get information to parents within five minutes of an event or change to schedule, and the switch to the new system will help ensure that is the case.
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“We know when we have to get those messages out they will get out in a timely manner, where people will be able to react to it quickly,” he said.