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Gainesville schools to implement text messaging system
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The Gainesville school system will implement a new text messaging service for parents and guardians this week.

A flier with details describing how the service works and how to opt in or out went home with children Friday.

The districtwide messages will be sent to parents on their cellphones through the SchoolMessenger service. According to the flier, information concerning events, school closings, safety alerts and more could be sent out using the service.

Phase I, which the schools are in now, includes the handout. To opt in, parents are encouraged to send a text with “Y” or “Yes” to 67587. Doing so includes them in a group of other parents and guardians that wish to receive these messages.

The second phase will include a phone call from the school system this Thursday reminding parents to opt in or out. If they opt out, they will not receive the messages.

Also, if a parent decides to opt out once the messages start going out, they can reply to a message with “Stop” to cease the notifications.

Currently the school system is only using emails and phone voicemail messages.

As of Saturday, the SchoolMessenger system will send out its own phone calls to remind parents and provide any further instruction.

Lynn Jones, community and communications coordinator for the Gainesville city school board, said the messages will be school-specific.

“Take Centennial (elementary school) for example. Only if you have children in that school will you get the message,” Jones said. There will be some messages that require notification to all schools, but most will be based on the school or schools your children attend.”

There is no deadline for the opting in and out, but parents are encouraged to do so as quickly as possible.

The flier also included information about student privacy.

“SchoolMessenger is compliant with the Student Privacy Pledge, so you can rest assured that your information is safe and will never be given or sold to anyone,” the flier stated.

For any additional information, call the district office at 770-536-5276.