It will allow the central office to notify all or some of the schools.
A new security measure is being implemented in Frederick County Public Schools. School Security Coordinator Clifton Cornwell says FCPS partnered with the County Emergency Management Division to secure a Federal Emergency Management Agency grant to purchase and install facility notification devices in all of the schools. "It's a device called an Alertus device. They use it in Allegany and Washington Counties. We've tested it here for five or six months," says Cornwell.
He says it can be activated through a weather alert or from the central office. "In the past, we've had to e-mail or do a telephone call-down type of thing during emergencies. And this device will allow to us to send instant messages to one school, a group of schools or all the schools," he says.
Cornwell says it's about the size of a thermometer. "It will be located in the main office, where we have folks on duty all the time during the school day. It will send out an alert tone, flashing lights and a scrolling message across the screen," he says.
The school system also received a $1,163,500 grant from the Maryland State Department of Education to make other security improvements in classroom buildings. That grant was matched by $700,000 from the Board of County Commissioners. "What we're also looking at with this grant is our entrance ways," says Cornwell. "We have 23 schools now that have designed entrances that force visitors into the main office. We're focusing with this grant on some of these entrances."
He says FCPS has until the fall, 2014 to complete any projects with these funds.