AlertNow Rapid Notification System

AlertNow allows the school district to send important information quickly – not only to parents but to staff as well – via phone, email, or text message, about emergency situations and school delays or cancellations due to inclement weather. In addition to notifying parents about school closings or delays, AlertNow allows every school to contact parents about important school information.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT ALERTNOW

As a parent or guardian of a student enrolled in Lakewood City Schools, will I need to register or sign-up to receive messages from AlertNow?
No, you do not need to register for the AlertNow parent notification system. ALL parents and guardians of students enrolled in the school division are automatically enrolled in the communication system.


As a parent, I use my cell phone as my primary phone and would like to make sure that the non-emergency messages I receive from my child’s school are delivered to this phone. How can I be assured this will happen?

When a parent registers a child as a student, the home phone provided at the time of enrollment is considered to be the primary contact phone number. The primary phone number is the only phone number used by the AlertNow parent notification system to call parents in a non-emergency situation. If you would prefer to have all non-emergency phone calls sent to your cell phone, you must contact your child’s school to make this change.


If I move out of the area, do I have to request to have my phone numbers and email addresses removed from AlertNow?

No. If you move from the area and your child is withdrawn from school, your information is removed from the AlertNow notification system.


As a parent, how do I update my AlertNow emergency and non-emergency notification information?

If any of the phone numbers or email addresses used by the
AlertNow notification system change, parents must contact the school office to update this contact information. It is very important for you school to have accurate phone numbers to contact for any reason.


How will parents/guardians be notified by AlertNow?
As the parent/guardian of a student, it is important for you to understand how messages will be delivered to you.

·         For non-emergency messages, you will receive a telephone call to your home or whichever number you designated as your primary phone.

·         Should a school emergency occur, in addition to being called on your primary phone, you will also be notified through the various phone numbers you have included on your child's registration form.

·         In addition to being notified by phone during a school emergency, you will also receive messages via email and text.

·         Multiple phone numbers and email addresses will only be used to notify you during a school emergency, closing, or cancellation.

How will I know that I have received a message from AlertNow?
Here is what you need to know about receiving a phone call via
AlertNow:

·         If you have Caller ID, for a non-emergency message, the school’s main number will appear in the display.

·         If you have Caller ID, for an emergency message, 757.263.1000 will appear in the display.

·         AlertNow will leave a message on any answering machine or voicemail.

·         If the AlertNow message stops playing, press any key 1-9 and the message will replay from the beginning.

·         At the end of every voice message sent via AlertNow, you will be prompted to press #1 on your phone to repeat the message.


An AlertNow message was delivered to my phone, I said “hello” and no message played. Why?

The
AlertNow system plays the message as soon as the phone is picked up or answered. However, errors can occur if the person repeatedly says "hello" or answers in a noisy environment (i.e. traffic, children playing, loud music or television, dogs barking, etc.). Generally, if a person offers an extended greeting such that it overlaps the AlertNow message, the system pauses, waits for silence, and replays the message from the beginning.

With background noise, it is possible that the system is unable to detect the end of the "greeting" and thus the message did not initiate. In a noisy environment, call recipients can press any number (1-9) and the message will play from the beginning without interruption.


An AlertNow message was delivered to my phone, I said “hello” and only part of the message was delivered. Why?

The
AlertNow system plays the message as soon as the phone is picked up or answered. However, errors can occur if the person repeatedly says "hello" or answers in a noisy environment (i.e. traffic, children playing, loud music or television, dogs barking, etc.). Generally, if a person offers an extended greeting such that it overlaps the AlertNow message, the system pauses, waits for silence, and replays the message from the beginning. This could result in delivery of only a portion of the message.

With background noise, it is possible that the system is unable to detect the end of the "greeting" and thus the message did not initiate. In a noisy environment, call recipients can press any number (1-9) and the message will play from the beginning without interruption.


How does the AlertNow system distinguish a live person from an answering machine?

In short,
AlertNow utilizes the industry's most Advanced Answering Machine Detection (AAMD) software. The system starts the broadcast immediately upon telephone pickup; simultaneously, it is listening for interruptions. If the system is not interrupted by noise or someone speaking within the first 3.5 seconds, the message is delivered in its entirety. If the system detects a greeting longer than a few seconds, the system treats this as an outgoing message from an answering machine and will wait for a pause (usually after the beep) before delivering the message to be recorded.


What if the line is busy or there is no answer?

The
AlertNow system will make up to four attempts to reach each number, with three minutes in between each call. If the message is not delivered by the fourth attempt, it is considered a failed number. Failures happen when a phone number is busy, disconnected, invalid, etc. If you are aware of a message that was delivered, but you did not receive a call, please contact your school.


Why is my answering machine recording only half of the AlertNow message?

If your answering machine greeting is sporadic with varied periods of silence, the system will read this as a live person and begin playing the message, even though the machine has yet to start recording. This will result in a recording of silence (if the
AlertNow message finishes playing before the machine begins recording) or if just the last portion of the AlertNow message runs over, this will also result in message cutoff. The recommended solution is to have parents set their machines to record for a longer period.


My Caller ID showed that the school had called but there was no voicemail/message? Why?

If there is a break or a substantial silence in the outgoing message on an answering machine or voicemail, the system determines it has reached a live person and begins the message prior to the voicemail recording is engaged. Please make sure that the greeting is seamless to facilitate successful message delivery.


Are there other reasons why I did not receive a message on my answering machine?

AlertNow will leave a message on the contact's voicemail or answering machine. However, the system is set to ring each line six times. If your answering machine is set to pick up on seven or more rings, the message may not be delivered to your machine. Therefore, we encourage you to set your machine to six rings or fewer.


Will the AlertNow system call phone numbers with extensions?

The
AlertNow system only works with direct-dial phone numbers. The system is unable to navigate menus or extensions.


I have a telemarketer screening device. How will that affect the call?

If a contact has a device on their telephone line designed to prevent automated phone systems from connecting (e.g. TeleZapper, privacy Manager, Privacy Director, etc.), they may not receive the call. For example, with Privacy Director all unidentifiable incoming calls are rerouted and the callers must identify themselves for the call to go through. Because our system is automated, it will not identify itself; thus the call will not get through to the recipient. For screening systems that are dependent on Caller IDs, recipients can authorize access for their school's phone number through their device. Note that calls identified with the school's number on the Caller ID generally have no trouble getting through Privacy Manager type systems.