With hundreds of students and dozens of staff members, communication in schools is vital to students’ safety and success.
Piper Prairie Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas has about 600 students and 60 staff members. While that could get chaotic, the right communication plan can keep things running smoothly.
USING TWO-WAY RADIOS IN SCHOOLS
Drop-off and pick-up time can get busy so Piper Prairie Elementary School has been using two-way radios for about five years.
“We wanted to make sure we had radios to communicate, mainly for the safety of our students- to making sure they were where they needed to be. We just needed that instant communication in order to do that,” Assistant Principal, Jason Malaschak said.
The radios are crucial in case of emergencies like severe weather or the event of a school shooting.
Cell phones are not an option in the building so every staff member carries a radio.
“We have no cell reception so we can’t text. I can’t use my phone here in the building so the radios are the only means of communication during the school day,” Malaschak said.
COVID-19’S ROLE IN TWO-WAY RADIO USE
However, things looked different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Classes were in cohorts and could not mix with those outside of their assigned group. Two-way radios helped staff navigate the new normal.
“We couldn’t just send students out amongst the building to mix with the other cohorts so we had to bring the essential staff to them. We made sure every classroom teacher had a radio to be in communication with the nurse, with the principals, with the custodians, or anybody else that they need to stay, ‘Hey I need help. I need you down in my room.’ Then we were able to go there, get them the help they need, and keep the day moving.”
The two-way radios played a role in daily temperature checks, ensuring all students were healthy before entering the building.
“If we had a situation where a temperature alarm went off because of a student, we had to immediately call over to the nurse to go to the back of the building. We only had one nurse in the building, but two different entrances for car riders and buses, so we had to be in communication with her at all times to make sure that was being taken care of.”
While some pandemic policies will likely disappear in the coming school year, others will stick around. That includes the use of two-way radios.
“If something happened at recess or in the classroom, or in the hallway, they didn’t have to find another staff member who happened to have a radio. They could just do it wherever they are and know all the information.”
Piper Prairie Elementary School uses Midland Radio’s X-TALKER T71VP3 TWO-WAY RADIO. Staff is able to communicate clearly throughout the entire building. The radios even reach the other building about a mile away.
“Once we found out the benefits of these two-way radios, how efficient they were when using them, how cost efficient they were, we started buying more and more for all of our staff. Now, we have over 60 radios in the building, all Midland Radios.”