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Friday, June 21, 2024

Karen Rhodenizer probably won’t answer a telephone call in the middle of a meeting, but she will answer a text message, especially if it’s about her two sons, who both started fifth grade this week.

Alachua County Public Schools and Gainesville Police Department have recently gone public with their own emergency notification systems.

The school alert system, which launched this week, didn’t use taxpayer money because it was a free upgrade to existing software, said Alachua County Public Schools spokeswoman Jackie Johnson.

This instantaneous communication can be a comfort to parents, Rhodenizer said, citing a school shooting Tuesday in DeKalb County, Ga.

“What if that happened at my sons’ school?” she said. “I feel like you almost can’t feel overcommunicated with by your school.”

Similarly, GPD released details about its recently developed GPD ALERT system during a meeting with residents Wednesday night.

Students and residents can now receive email and text message notifications about emergencies around the city, said GPD spokesman Officer Ben Tobias. Anyone can register for the notifications through the department’s website.

Tobias said GPD will send out an alert if there is a threat to public safety, such as a shooting or a natural disaster.

“Everybody has a phone,” he said. “If we need to get information out immediately, this is the way to do it.”

A version of this story ran on page 1 on 8/22/2013 under the headline "Gainesville, schools offer text alerts"

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