Q&A: How Do Anne Arundel County Public Schools Notify Parents of Closings?

Changes to school schedules caused by inclement weather or other emergency conditions are announced through the Blackboard Connect (formerly Connect-ED) automated notification system; posted on the school system’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter (@AACountySchools); and broadcast on major area radio and television stations, including AACPS-TV (Channel 96 on Comcast and Broadstripe, and Channel 36 on Verizon). In addition, announcements are posted (and you may sign up for e-mail alerts) on the website School’s Out.AACPS 2

Q: With regard to school closings and delayed openings, what time are notifications made?
A: Notifications are sent as soon as possible after a decision is made on a school closing or delayed opening. With regard to winter weather, sometimes the timing of a storm makes a decision the night before realistic. Most often, however, that is not the case and notifications are sent early in the morning.
Email and text message notifications, as well as postings to the AACPS Facebook and Twitter pages, are sent at approximately 5 a.m. Media notifications also occur at this time.
Telephone calls are scheduled to begin at 5:30 a.m. They are sent in a single call so that parents with more than one child receive only one phone call.
The earliest and most reliable places to find information on school closings and delayed openings are email/text messages and AACPS’ social media sites.

Q: How do I ensure that my phone number and email are used by the notification system?
A: Phone numbers and email addresses used by the Blackboard Connect (formerly Connect-ED) system are pulled from the district’s student information system. Those numbers are used for notification purposes only if they are listed in the database. Parents should make sure the information on file for their child is correct and up-to-date.
For general messages, Blackboard Connect can contact up to two phone numbers and two email addresses. It can also send text messages to any of those numbers that are mobile phones. If your phone is a mobile phone, however, you will need to let your child’s school know that so that it can be designated to receive text messages.
If you have questions about what information is contained in your child’s account, please contact your child’s school.

Q: Once my mobile phone is on file with my child’s school, will I automatically receive text messages?
A: Your number must first be designated in your child’s account as being able to receive text messages. Your child’s school can make this designation for you. You will receive a confirmation notification and you must reply in order to begin receiving text messages. Messages will come from either 23177 or 63079. You may wish to save these numbers in your contact list and designate them as AACPS.

Q: My mobile phone number is on file with my child’s school but I am not receiving text messages. What can I do to begin receiving them?
A: Call your child’s school to have them designate the phone number as able to receive text messages. If you do not receive a confirmation message within 12 hours, text SUBSCRIBE AACPS to 23177 or 63079.
Remember, numbers must be on file in your child’s account in order for you to begin receiving messages. Subscriptions to numbers that are not on file are not valid and will not receive text messages.

Q: I am getting text messages and I see your Facebook and Twitter postings. I would like to stop receiving telephone calls. How can I do this?
A: Blackboard Connect is developing a new component of its system that will allow parents to fully designate the method in which they wish to receive notifications. We expect that feature to be available in time for the 2014-2015 school year.


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About Mitchelle Stephenson

I've gotta tell Mitchelle! Send your South County news tips, brag on your fab volunteers, talk traffic, police and fire or just say "howdy" to Mitchelle Stephenson, co-founding editor of the South River Source. Mitchelle@SouthRiverSource.com or reach me in person on mobile: 410-353-4706.


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