Parents of school-aged children in every public and nonpublic school throughout Missouri will be able to receive instant updates about the H1N1 (Swine) flu as a result of a new, free service provided by the Missouri School Boards' Association in collaboration with SchoolReach, a St. Louis-based school-to-parent notification and communications company. The service is available now to schools that do not already have an alert notification in place for parents.
"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," says MSBA Executive Director Dr. 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 added that he knows of no other state in the nation that has developed a similar service to help schools communicate quickly with parents regarding the H1N1 flu.
The service has been developed by SchoolReach, MSBA's partner in the area of parental notification services for schools. SchoolReach is the education marketing and service division of GroupCast, LLC. Headquartered in St. Louis, GroupCast provides hosted (or web-based) phone, email and text message broadcast solutions.
Missouri's Office of Homeland Security was consulted by MSBA prior to announcing the new, free service. The Office voiced strong support for the capability of school officials to effectively communicate with all parents on issues relating to H1N1. Missouri's Office of Homeland Security has partnered with MSBA and SchoolReach to allow the Department of Public Safety to contact school officials in an emergency using the same technology at no cost. State officials have used this system to alert schools to changing pandemic flu guidelines for school closings.
For schools that use the new, free service, messages will be limited to those that involve information about the H1N1 flu. Some restrictions apply and schools are encouraged to pre-register with SchoolReach prior to need. School officials can learn more about the service including information on how to sign up at www.msbanet.org.
The Missouri School Boards' Association is a private, not-for-profit organization that exists to help public schools succeed. SchoolReach is a subsidiary of St. Louis-based GroupCast, an instant messaging notification service. More information about SchoolReach or GroupCast can be found at www.schoolreach.com and www.groupcast.com.