Lebanon Elementary School will use an app called PikMyKid to help with school dismissal for the 2020-21 school year.
Due to COVID-19 safety changes, it is no longer safe for parents to go inside the building, walk through halls and congregate in a room to pick their children up from school. Principal Rita Quiles-Glover said that her team realized early on that they would have to change the way parents pick up their children from school.
"The risk of multiple families coming into the building with exposure just increases," explained Quiles-Glover.
Instead of going inside, parents picking up their children will now stay in their car the entire time. There is a separate entrance on the side of the building for students who are being picked up by parents.
Using the PikMyKid app, parents will be able to notify staff that they have arrived. The app sends a message to teachers through their smartboards or computers. The student will then be brought outside, all without the parent having to get out of their car.
"To be efficient, but also to make sure they are going home with the right person," said Quiles-Glover.
Addressing safety concerns, each family is given a unique ID number. They are able to control all aspects of pickup. If parents do not have a phone, they are given a placard that has a scannable code on it. Staff can scan the code into the system to alert teachers that the parents have arrived. Staff will also be verifying licenses upon pickup.
“It still will maintain the importance of our positive environment because staff will be out there. I will be out there," said Quiles-Glover.
In a normal year, about 75 children opt for in-person pick-up. The school anticipates that number will increase this year because of the pandemic.
Rachael Archer is one parent who is opting for in-person pickup for the first time this year.
"Because of COVID and wearing masks on the bus, we are looking for alternatives to that," said Archer.
The app is free to parents, but cost the school system about $3,000.
According to Quiles-Glover, the app also allows for much-needed flexibility. With a hybrid schedule parents may need to make changes to who is going to pick up their children. They have the ability to do that by using the app, avoiding having to send notes in or call the main office.
“One less thing to worry about," said Archer.
Parents will be mailed more information on the app.