Parents react to second Tope Evacuation

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Friday morning's evacuation of Tope Elementary School tested communication procedures from the district on the fastest way parents can get informed and stay informed.

Several parents Friday morning say they heard about Tope's evacuation from the news or a neighbor, but not from the school district directly.

Officials say there are a lot of things happening at once during an evacuation and hundreds of parents to notify, and it's not always a perfect process.

Parents of Tope Elementary students had another stressful morning as their kids were evacuated.

While parents are pleased with the quick evacuation and like erring on the side of safety, some are asking for better communication after hearing about it through the grapevine rather than the district itself.

Concerned mom Sharon Meyer wishes there was one more option.

"I don't listen to the radio, I don't have the news on, I don't always have the internet, so most people have phones, if they had a text service, parents would find out other than word of mouth," she said. “The school district needs to set up a text message service so if this ever happens in the future or there is an emergency, parents can find out.”

While Meyer has hopes for future improvements, other parents were pleased with Friday’s notification.

"On Tuesday I heard from word of mouth, and then later an email, but by then, I had picked up my daughter. Today it went much smoother," Tope parent Misti Schneider said.

That's the feedback district officials want to keep getting as they continue to improve communication efforts with parents. While the kids at Tope got an extra day of Spring Break, district officials will be busy fine-tuning the process.

“By evacuating today, this allows us to have Spring Break to really clear out the system and to make sure that everything is clear and ready,” School District 51 spokesperson Christy McGee said. “[We want to] make sure it's all safe for kids when they get back from Spring Break."

District officials say their main focus is to make sure everyone is accounted for before beginning communication efforts to parents.

Right now, the best way to get updates from the district is through its web site or Facebook page as well as the parent bridge site.

There’s no way for parents to get alerts letting them know there's an emergency at their child's school right now, but once they do hear about it, they can get details from those places.

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