POTTSTOWN PA – As the Pottsgrove School District announced this morning (Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013) that schools would not open in anticipation of a coming snowstorm, its automated system that sends out alerts of such decisions to parents and the community seemed to work perfectly. It wasn’t the case Monday (Dec. 9), though, when school openings were delayed by two hours and the alert system didn’t function as planned.
E-mails and text messages about Monday’s delay due to icy conditions were successfully delivered to those who opted to receive them, but those who rely on a phone message didn’t hear the news until later if at all. The reason, Director of Technology and Communications Michael Wagman said, was “an unusually high call volume” with which the district’s calling vendor struggled to cope.
In other words, thousands of schools found themselves in the same boat as Pottsgrove schools, and their calls added to the local calls meant no or late calls.
Wagman reported Monday night the vendor’s “technical and management teams were meeting … to review all their technical support requests,” but added Monday’s failure “was not acceptable and our vendor representative certainly agreed.”
“As a parent like you, I value and expect good and timely communication from the school my daughter attends,” Wagman said, “and you have every right to expect the same from us. I take this charge very seriously.”
Area superintendents talk to each other about the potential of closing, if contemplated, at about 5 on the morning a decision is needed, Wagman explained. Calls and messages usually follow at about 5:30 a.m. He said Pottsgrove in the future hopes “to move the family calls up by a few minutes to see if we can get our calls placed before the rush on the network’s resources.”
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