Missouri School Board Offers SchoolReach for Flu Alerts

To prepare for potential outbreaks of Swine flu in its schools, the Missouri School Boards' Association (MSBA) is collaborating with SchoolReach to make a parent notification service available to every school in the state that doesn't already have one in place.

SchoolReach, a St. Louis-based company, provides a web-based service that delivers phone, email, and text messages from schools to parents. For schools that use the free service, messages will be limited to those that involve information about the flu, including H1N1 alerts, policy, directives, school closing, school reopening, or other related matters. The maximum call allowance per school will be 10,000 alerts during the 2009-2010 school year.

"We're delighted to partner with SchoolReach to offer this service, which will enable every school district and private school in the state to contact parents about H1N1 issues immediately," said MSBA Executive Director Carter Ward. "Effective and timely communication will be vital for schools and communities as they cope with a possible flu outbreak in the coming weeks. This service is an important tool in that effort."

Ward said that he knows of no other state that has developed a similar service to help schools communicate quickly with parents regarding the H1N1 flu.

The state's Department of Public Safety will be using the same technology at no cost to alert schools to changing pandemic flu guidelines for school closings.

Recently, the company announced a partnership with the Missouri Parent Teacher Association, in which the PTA will use SchoolReach to deliver notifications to its 425 statewide units and councils.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.