Jun 24, 2022

Hays BOE approves software to help reunite families in case of disaster

Posted Jun 24, 2022 11:01 AM
Hays school board<br>
Hays school board

Hays Post

The Hays school board approved the purchase of a subscription for security software to be used at all of the USD 489 schools at its meeting Monday.

The software from Raptor Technologies can track students in case of disasters. Teachers can access their rosters for each class and register that students are present and safe with the touch of their smartphones.

In the case of an actual disaster, the software is designed to speed up the reunification of parents and students.

The software will send a notification to all of the guardians listed for the child when that child is released to a guardian. If a child is released to a parent or grandparent, the software notifies the other parent or guardians that the child is safe and with that person.

The software also notifies guardians if a child is injured and taken to a hospital for care.

"One of the things from being in buildings prior that I was keyed in on was the reunification of kids to parents," Craig Palliser, board vice president, said. "You see so many times on the news that you have 600 or 1,000 kids to be reunited with their parents and it's in a different location.

"You don't want secretaries with flip charts trying to get the kid to the right person. [The software] looks so valuable."

Curt Vajnar, board member, recalled a past bomb threat at the middle school. Vajanr said he didn't know where his child was.

"The stress was where is your kid," he said. "Has your kid been released? Has he been released out the east side and is at grandpa's house and I'm sitting on the west side? Will this tell us if he's still in the building?

"This would be wonderful," he said of the software.

Drew Smith of Raptor said the software can be used during drills to increase efficiency and build a culture of safety.

"We are hoping to get rid of manual paper-based processes," Smith said.

The software also will provide a visitor screening management system for all district schools. Visitors will be asked to present their driver's licenses or IDs when they check in at school offices.

"With visitor management, we are trying to prevent issues from happening in the schools," Drew Smith of Raptor said. "We screen every single visitor."

The Raptor software checks the name against the Kansas offender registry, as well as searches for custody issues.

After someone has been screened once by the system, school staff can search for them by name.

Raptor alert is an app that anyone who has access to it can initiate an emergency call. This could be something small like alerting the office that a nurse is needed in a classroom or something big like a lockdown, hold or a fire. It sends alerts to appropriate staff or 911 if necessary.

Raptor works with more than 37,000 schools across the country. The new software will work with existing systems and not require additional data entry.

The cost of the system and training is $35,651. The school district has applied for a Kansas Department of Education Safe & Secure Schools grant for $17,266 to supplement the cost of the subscription.

Money for the project will come from the Capital Outlay Fund.

School officials hope to have the visitor management system running by the first day of school in the fall. The other systems may take longer to fully implement.

Learning Center lease

The school board approved $7,350 for the biannual payment on the Learning Center lease at the Hadley Center. Board member Allen Park asked if the district plans to relocate the center to another building once the bond is completed.

Superintendent Ron Wilson said other locations would be considered. However, he said the Learning Center likely would not be relocated to the new high school.

Computer labs

The school approved the purchase of 57 computers for three computer labs at Hays High School at a cost of $155,040. These computers will replace computers that were bought in 2015.

Early Childhood Connections vehicle

The school board approved the purchase of a 2020 Chevrolet Equinox at a cost of $30,195 from Auto World for Early Childhood Connections. The car will be paid for with federal funds allocated to the ECC program. Auto World was the only bidder on the purchase.