Why is there sometimes a delay in receiving notifications?

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In an urgent or emergency situation, our number one priority is ensuring the safety and well being of our students. This might involve evacuating students and consulting with emergency personnel, such as the fire department. Once our students are safe and secure, we initiate communications.

There are some situations for which the process follows a scripted plan, such as a school closing due to bad weather. Those communications can be executed quickly.

For unscripted situations, such as a building or facilities issue, the process is more complex and takes more time to execute. The process typically includes:

  • receiving initial notification
  • gathering information
  • determining the extent and impact of the situation in consultation with school administration, facilities, transportation and sometimes the city, neighboring jurisdictions and experts, as needed
  • deciding the immediate next steps and/or resolution (Superintendent)
  • formulating the communication plan
  • executing the communication plan

Translating messages into other languages can also affect the process. ACPS sends emergency messages in English, and where possible, in Spanish, Arabic and Amharic.

Depending on the nature of the situation, sometimes we are able to communicate an initial message while we continue to work the situation and then follow up with additional messaging as information becomes available. If action is required by parents and guardians, such as picking up students early, time is needed to work through the logistics. There is always a balance between ensuring the information is complete and getting it out quickly.

Although there may be similarities, every situation is different and requires some degree of flexibility and adaptation. Situations that involve an early dismissal or school closure, for instance, involve complex logistics and coordination among different entities before details can be fully communicated. In these cases, you may not get all the information in the first message. We will update you as the plan evolves.

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