State Law Requires Emergency Notifications for Students, Employees

Austin Community College implemented the ACC Emergency Alert notification system following the Virginia Tech shootings five years ago. The communication system sends ACCmail, voicemail, and text message alerts to subscribers if a threat arises.

While providing an alert system previously was voluntary, state law now requires the college to gather phone numbers from each student and employee to send emergency alerts. All ACC students, faculty, and staff members must add their Emergency Alert contact information to their Online Services profile or complete a new opt-out process.

ACC Emergency Alerts are issued only for campus emergencies and occasional system tests. Subscribers will not receive unsolicited phone or text messages, and the numbers will not be shared with anyone else.

ACC Emergency Alert sends critical information to you immediately,” says Kristine Elderkin, ACC’s emergency management coordinator. “We have always encouraged students and employees to sign up for the notifications. The new law supports our efforts to provide students, faculty, and staff with the information they need to make good decisions about their personal safety.”

Students and employees will be prompted to add their contact information or opt out of the alerts when they log into their Online Services account. Most students will be required to input their contact number or opt out when they log into Online Services to register for classes. Faculty will be prompted when they access Online Services for their class rosters or to enter grades. Other staff members will receive prompts through Online Services or reminders from supervisors.

Students will find the “ACC Emergency Alert” link under “Communications” on the menu page. Faculty and staff can find the link under “Personal Profile,” and “Employee Profile,” respectively. Users select the link and type in their number in the phone and/or text message fields. Those who opt out of receiving emergency messages must check the box that appears above the phone number information. Adding a number or opting out does not change the official student or employee directory information maintained by the college. See the ACC Emergency Alert webpage for sign-up tutorials.

In accordance with the legislation and to ensure information remains current, students and employees will be automatically prompted to update their information annually, but users can log in and change their information at any time as necessary.

The next test of the ACC Emergency Alert notification system will be on Thursday, June 14. This test is part of ACC’s Emergency Preparedness Week held the third week of each semester.

For more information about emergency procedures, visit ACC’s Emergency Information website. For more information about the emergency notification requirement, contact Kristine Elderkin, kelderki@austincc.edu.

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