Parents, staff and students wishing to receive Richland School District weather closure/delay announcements via email, text message, or push notification can sign up by going to: http://flashalert.net/news.html?id=1845 (if you already have an active account, you do not need to sign up again, but you do need to log in to your account once a year to keep it active).
When you get to that page, start the process by entering your email address and setting a password. Once the account is established, you may add one or two additional email or cell text addresses. Each new entry will require you to launch a test message to that address which will contain a two-letter code which must be entered back onto your account page to ensure that the address(es) is valid, or by clicking the link in the message.
Bear in my mind that the cell phone companies get backlogged on weather mornings as they try to keep up with the text messages, so it is recommended that you not rely entirely on text messages. We urge you to download the new, free app for iOS and Android called FlashAlert Messenger. It uses push notification to send messages directly to your phone, bypassing the cell companies' text message channel. Search for FlashAlert Messenger at the iTunes App Store (iOS) or at Google Play (Android).
For more information, contact Steve Aagaard at 967-6008 or firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the Richland School District make decisions on closures/delays?
The Transportation Supervisor and Support Services staff are on the roads early in the morning to evaluate road conditions. They also take into account the current weather and immediate weather forecast for the local area. After discussing the conditions, staff make their recommendation to the superintendent. The District realizes that not everyone will agree with every closure/delay decision that is made, but our staff make every effort to come to the best decision possible. Student and staff safety is of paramount importance in the decision making process. Be assured that the District takes the process very seriously.
If ever you disagree with our decision regarding school delays or closures, please know that it is considered an excused absence if you decide to keep your child home from school. Please inform and provide your child's school with a signed note. The final decision on whether or not to send your child to school is yours.With more than 11,000 students and 1,200 staff, making changes to the school day is very difficult, particularly at the last minute. Even with all of the messages we send out to the media and post on our website, we still have students being dropped off at school when we have announced a delay or closure. Further, closure after school is in session would be extremely difficult. Once students have been dropped off at school or daycare, there is no way to contact every parent or caregiver to inform them of a change to bus schedules or the school day. Many of those parents have gone to work and contacting them is very difficult. It is important that we do not cause a situation where students are home or elsewhere without adult supervision.
For those of you who have been receiving some of the weather text messages late, here is the explanation from Craig Walker, manager of the FlashAlert notification system…..
“Unfortunately, the delays are beyond the control of either the Richland School District or FlashAlert. Once the District clicks on ‘send’, the weather announcement goes out within a minute or two as emails from FlashAlert to the cell phone companies. What happens to the messages after they leave the FlashAlert server is out of our control. The delays most likely are a combination of Internet issues that slow down the messages as well as backlogs of messages to be delivered by the cell companies.
"We want all RSD subscribers to receive this information immediately. That the delivery speed is out of our control has been our greatest frustration. Fortunately, the vast majority of subscribers are receiving the texts/emails in a timely manner. Subscribers should remember that delays can happen, especially for the text messages, and should also check other sources of closure info, including the media and the RSD website."