Solon Schools has a new phone system, and some of the features will help the schools act more efficiently in the event of a crisis.
And that's important, especially in the wake of last Friday's school shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.
The new phone system will be online today.
In a message posted Friday on the Solon Schools website, officials discussed the new phone system and responded to the tragedy on Connecticut.
The message reads:
This weekend, the district will complete the transition to a new phone system. The new system offers enhanced features from our current system, which is more than 20 years old.
Beginning on Monday, when you make a call to any of our school buildings, you will first connect with a recorded greeting to help more effectively direct your call. All schools will now have an attendance line and this is one of the options you will hear in the initial greeting. If your child is ill or will be tardy, you may simply select the attendance line option to let the school know your child will be absent or late. If you need to speak with the building secretary or another member of the office staff, you may do so at any time by dialing “0” during the recorded greeting.
This new recorded greeting is already in place at Solon High School, so parents of students in grades 9-12 will not notice any significant difference when calling SHS.
The behind-the-scenes enhancements to the system that parents will not see are perhaps the most important changes for us as a district. Several of the communication features of the system allow for improved emergency communications within the district and with our Solon safety forces as part of our district crisis plans.
[Friday's] tragic events in Connecticut are a grim reminder of the importance of this crisis planning and the infrastructure necessary to support the plans we have in place. We want to take this opportunity to reinforce that our crisis plans are up to date and we recently conducted a table top exercise with our city safety officials.
Additionally, all of our schools held lock down drills at the beginning of the month. These are conducted in cooperation with our Solon Police Department and give our students and staff a chance to practice lock down procedures, just as they have done for so many years during regular fire drills. It is an unfortunate reality that we have to practice these procedures, but hopefully it provides some measure of reassurance on a day like this that our emergency plans are in place and staff and students are aware of what to do in case of an emergency.
There really are no words to describe a school tragedy of this magnitude. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the families in Newtown, Connecticut.