New technology is being used to enhance safety at Roanoke County Schools this year

In an emergency situation, teachers can open up their app, swipe, and the entire school goes in to lockdown mode

ROANOKE, Va. – Imagine in an emergency, being able to lock down an entire school with a click of a button. That is exactly what the teachers and staff at Roanoke County Public Schools are able to do this year with the help of an app called Raptor.

Raptor focuses on protecting students and staff while keeping school districts in complete control during drills and active incidents.

The Raptor App has multiple components, which include:

  • A check-in system for parents and visitors: When visiting a Roanoke County School, you will need to swipe an ID card to get in. Then the system alerts everyone on Raptor that there is a visitor in the building. This way, the staff can know who is in the building at all times.
  • A Lock-down system: In an emergency situation, teachers can open up their app, swipe and send the entire school into lockdown mode.

“Then what happens is—which I love this feature—is the app sends an automatic amber alert type alert that overrides everyone’s phone,” said Safety Manager for Roanoke County, Rhonda Stegall. “Every staff member, people at [the] central office, our SROs, and it also dials 9-1-1 immediately.”

Once the school is in lockdown mode, the app tells law enforcement which teacher activated the lockdown and what classroom they are in.

Once the school uploads its digital maps, Raptor will be able to send them to the police department. This will ensure that law enforcement has a complete layout of the school sent right to them. So all of these systems are working together.

Another feature Raptor provides is the attendance and well-being of students. This feature is updated with class lists every eight hours. This way, teachers can let law enforcement know if any students are missing or if they are hurt and need assistance.

“So if we were to have a critical incident, I, of course, would have the dashboard. I would be in [the] command center with the police department, then EMS, and we would all be seeing real live data coming in on how our students are doing, how the school is doing,” Stegall said.

Lastly, the new system helps with the reunification process. The app tracks when students are evacuating the building and which bus they are going on to the reunification site. This way, the school can know where students are at all times and the teacher they are with.