The sun comes up and the day begins like any other day.  Students arrive on time to school and the day is off to a great start. The day begins with classes like math, music, and science, then lunch and recess.  But then later in the day, a phone call comes in to the Academy’s front desk from the East Pennsboro police (is this right?  is it west shore regional?) and almost simultaneously, we hear emergency sirens in the distance, approaching fast.  We learn that there is a major incident in progress at a business close by and the police are requesting that we keep students here in the building until further notice, so as to keep the roads clear for the emergency vehicles. Its 1:45 p.m. – what do we do?  How do we respond?

Immediately, the Academy’s safety committee meets and quickly decides that we should utilize Connect-5 to notify our community of the emergency.  The message will briefly describe the incident, inform parents that they should not come to school to pick up their child, indicate that buses will not be running, and students will be kept in school until emergency responders tell us that we are clear to dismiss.  A message with these critical facts is created and entered into the Connect-5 system.  In minutes, the message is sent to all the student and faculty/staff emergency contacts that we have on file.

If you received a phone call, voicemail, text, or email a few weeks ago when we ran our annual test, you would be getting our message within minutes about the incident and instructions to not come to school.  (By the way, when we ran our test, the return statistics said that we reached 100% of all emergency contacts by at least one method, so we are confident that you will be contacted in any emergency.)  Eventually, as the incident is controlled and the area begins to return to normal, the police will tell us we’re able to resume normal business, and we would craft another message and send it by Connect-5 to inform you of updated information.

Our Connect-5 emergency notification system is just one way that the Academy uses to keep your child safe while on campus during each and every school day.  Therefore, we hope you can see why it is very important that should any of your personal contact information change, (phone numbers, email addresses, physical addresses, etc.) you should report this as soon as possible to the school, so we can update our records and remain confident that we can reach you in any emergency.  You can make updates by calling 717-763-7811 or sending an email to dbadmin@harrisburgacademy.org.