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Berkeley County Schools announces new alert system, security

August 16, 2008

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - Parents of students enrolled in Berkeley County public schools this fall will be able to receive alerts about school closings and delays via mobile phone text messages and e-mails, school officials announced Friday.

The additional means for communicating with the community was announced in a news release from the school district's communications office. Changes to school building security procedures also were announced.

By fall 2008, all 29 public school buildings are expected to have only one visitor entrance and all visitors will be required to provide identification upon entering each school, according to the news release. While on campus, visitors will be required to display visitor identification.

Security improvements are expected to continue until all schools receive the equipment installations, school officials said.

School officials said they are implementing recommendations by Martinsburg Fire Department Capt. G.E. Gochenour, who volunteered to observe fire-drill practices and reviewed emergency access at the schools.

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To establish the text message/e-mail alert system, parents will be asked to complete "technology cards," providing cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses, school officials said. Once the information is collected and electronically stored, parents will be able to receive information from school administrators, officials said.

More information about the Berkeley County public school district is on the Internet boe.berk.k12.wv.us.

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