The communication process between parents and schools has been a hot topic for a number of years. However, after parents did not receive any updates from a series of threatening phone calls made last week, the Government of Victoria is ready to make a change. State schools across Victoria are leading the way, and will be implementing SMS alerts into all emergency situations.
Most schools either pass off important letters for their students to bring home, or in the case of an emergency – a staff member will be assigned to personally call each individual parent. This process has worked well in the past, but in the current technological era that we are living in, this simply isn’t acceptable. This process takes too long, is inefficient for all parties involved, and is also very expensive.
Why is SMS the Solution?
For years now, parents have been requesting for a more effective communication channel. In case of an emergency, parents need to be contacted immediately. The fastest, most reliable, personalisable, and most inexpensive way of achieving this is by sending an SMS. These alerts can be sent in bulk, or can be customised to send to specific contacts. In case of an emergency, an SMS can be sent within seconds. Parents can also have the option of replying back to the SMS. Schools will also have the ability to track whether or not the parent has received the text message.
How about social media or other instant messaging services?
There are many reasons why you should never use social media or any instant messaging services in an emergency situation.
- Parents do not take social media or instant messaging seriously. This is also not the first place they would check in case of an emergency, since it is treated as an informal and casual method of communication.
- Social media accounts along with any service that requires an internet connection, will not work in case of network breakdown. Text messaging services are usually the last line of communication to fall in case of a major emergency. Just a few days ago, Telstra (Australia’s largest telecommunications company), saw all phone and data services disconnected for several hours, their SMS services however were functioning throughout the service break.
- Text messaging has long been considered the most reliable, trusting, and secure line of communication. This is why most banks and financial institutions trust SMS when it comes to confirming your identity. First responders also rely on SMS services in places where there isn’t reliable reception.
- Research states that it takes the average user only 3 minutes to open an SMS. This means that sending a reputable SMS will prompt the fastest response time.
These are just a few reasons why parents will take an SMS more seriously, and why SMS should be your primary source of emergency communication.
You can have unique lists based on:
- Whole of school
- Groups (such as an excursion, after school care, extra curricular activity groups)
- Special needs students
How long does it take?
Setting up an SMS service takes just minutes, and is very simple to manage. Here at PlusOne we have kids of our own and in the past have experienced communication failures from the school during gastro outbreaks on excursions, evacuations etc. At these times phoning individual parents FAILED and at other times the school did not have sufficient phone lines to cope. We want to help simplify the communication process of our education system. We want to help parents receive emergency updates as they happen.
Our SMS service is accessible via a button on a browser toolbar, or more complex messages via a simple to you web interface, Messages can also be initiated by email.
SMS is suitable for any organisation, large or small, for just about any purpose.