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New safety protocols rolled out for new school year in Salt Lake City School District

Posted at 7:14 PM, Aug 13, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-13 23:53:33-04

Salt Lake City – When students in the Salt Lake City School District head back to school next Monday, new stricter safety protocols will be in place.

This school year, the district installed security cameras at the entrances of every elementary and middle school. Visitors will ring a doorbell, with a camera attached to it, alerting office staff.

Hillside Middle School got their cameras up and running this summer.

“We also have a camera for one of our computers in the office, so that we can have a good picture of who is there,” said Jane Berntson, Principal of Hillside Middle School.

Berntson says the added layer of security will allow staff to keep better track of who is coming and going.

“This is gonna be a really good thing for our school. Two years ago, we had a threat of someone coming into our school at a certain time. Had we had this technology set up, we could have been a little bit more prepared," Berntson said.

Deb Andrews is the principal at Newman Elementary. Her staff keeps an eye on cameras all day and wants parents to know they’re doing their job.

“Sometimes they’re not thinking safety, they’re thinking inconvenience, and we want them to know that it’s all about safety," Andrews said.

Along with the cameras, the district is arming staff with the app, Dir-S. The panic button in the app allows staff to identify where an emergency is occurring, and what classrooms or parts of the building are secured during a lockdown. All local law enforcement, school resource officers, and fire departments are also looped in and can view information on the app.

“Everybody will have a notice at the same time from the principal. There will be a clear communication on what needs to be done,” said Yandary Chatwin, spokesperson for Salt Lake City School District.

With school shootings playing out across the country, the district is constantly reviewing its policing, and training staff with tools to handle any emergency that comes up.

Security cameras can’t catch everything. That’s why it’s important students speak up if they see something that’s not right. They can submit an anonymous tip using the Safe Utah app on their phone.